I watched the woman’s eyes begin to droop as she nodded off, open book still in her hands. Before I knew it, she was snoring softly right in the waiting room chair.
I envied her ability to drift off so easily. My eyes were still feeling the effects of the optometrist’s dilating drops, so I couldn’t indulge in my normal waiting room activity, which is reading.
As I continued watching people walk in and out, taking care of business, the privileged few with normal pupils perusing books and magazines contentedly, I was surprised to hear heavy breathing to my right. I turned and looked, and sure enough, the man next to me had also drifted off to sleep.
I thought this was more than a little comical. Perhaps this is a typical occurrence in a quiet waiting room early on a cloudy Monday morning.
I started to wonder what these people were passionate about. What would’ve kept them awake? Was the woman’s nap a sign that she had made a poor choice in reading material? Would the man have slept if his wife had been next to him, chatting about the church potluck next Sunday or how hideous her sister’s new couch was? What would’ve captured their attention enough to stave off their slumber?
As my imagination warmed up, I wondered what would lure them away from their dreams. What would prompt their eyes to open? What would propel their bodies from their leather chairs?
Would they wake up if I started talking to them, acting as though I was unaware of their snooze-fest?
What would happen if I shouted “FIRE!”?
Or stood up and exclaimed, “Hello, Mr. President!”?
Or shot a gun at the ceiling?
What if a baby started crying?
Or someone started cutting their hair?
In my mind’s eye, I began to concoct a scenario in which they slept on no matter what beckoned for their attention, and no matter how urgently.
I daydreamed that amidst the rumbling chaos of explosions blasting and the building imploding, they remained fast asleep.
Ludicrous, right? Something would have to be seriously wrong with these people in order for that to happen.
Dare I say they might even be dead?
Before too long, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging my memory with some pertinent Scripture passages in which Christ-followers are urged to wake up.
A Christian Wake-Up Call
“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” I Thessalonians 5:5-6
“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11
My waiting room experience gave new meaning to these verses. Because really, I kind of think many of us are just like the man and woman sleeping.
You see, we’re in the “waiting room,” anticipating the return of our Savior. But it’s not a get-comfy-with-a-book-and-maybe-even-fall-asleep kind of waiting. It’s a “pick-up-your-cross-and-follow-Me” kind of waiting (Luke 9:23). And I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t mean “Follow Me in your mind with what you say you believe.” I think He meant “Get up and do what I did when I was right where you are.”
But I’m afraid we’re not passionate enough about the Christ-following life to stay awake. And we’re not fervent enough about the people and the needs and the Spirit beckoning for our attention.
We’re living in sobering times, friends. Thankfully, Romans 13 goes on to offer some valuable guidance for those of us who want to stay awake:
1. Love one another. Waking up involves showing love to one another in intentional and unmistakable ways. Even when someone gets on your nerves. Even when you might get hurt. Even though they might not deserve it. Choose to show love to all of your fellow Christ-followers.
2. Cast off the works of darkness, which include “orgies and drunkenness, sexual immorality and sensuality, quarreling and jealousy.” Many volumes could be written on these alone. Carefully consider each one. Are you engaging in “sensuality” – those things which appeal to your senses rather than your spirit? Are you prone to quarreling? Do you struggle with jealousy? What other “works of darkness” does God bring to your mind? Cast them off and pursue personal holiness.
3. Put on the armor of light. Armor is the garb of one who is prepared for action. Just as you wouldn’t wear armor to bed, you ought not claim to be Christ-following when everything about your posture, your environment, and your attitude reveals that you’re really just comfortable.
4. Walk properly. Do what you should be doing, and don’t do what you shouldn’t be doing. How do you know what these things are? Dig into God’s Word for your battle plan!
5. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Clothe yourself in His righteousness by receiving the gift of salvation. Then “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” every day as you abide in Him (John 15:4), commune with Him, and emulate Him.
6. Make no provision for the flesh. Refuse to play footsie with those things that tempt you. Don’t yield to the lie that says you can play with fire and not get burned. Submit yourself to God – body, mind, and soul – and resist the devil (James 4:7).
Do you sense the Lord rousing you to wake up? Why not post Romans 13:10-14 in a visible spot in your home? You might even devote time toward memorizing it. Click here for a free printable of a graphic featuring this passage.
Did this post strike a chord with you? I realized not too long after publishing it that I missed a critical aspect of this discussion! You can read it by clicking here.