“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you” -Ephesians 5:14
My New Year’s Resolution is to become fully awake. This idea started when I realized I’ve been finding it so hard to get out of bed lately. It’s just so cozy, it’s warm and it’s safe. And in some ways, I’m guilty of expecting life to be lived in the same fashion.
Don’t get me wrong, sleep is not a bad thing. We need it! Rather it’s the condition of our souls being asleep that is the real issue. In a culture where it is not uncommon to spend hours binge-watching Netflix, being constantly connected to social media, sleeping the days away and merely surviving work because of the massive amounts of caffeine we intake; Complacency has crept in and is taking over lives.
Now, in moderation these things are okay, but if Netflix, relaxing, social media, sleep and coffee are the only things I look forward to- I need to seriously evaluate what I’m living for. The scary thing about this lifestyle is that while complacency seems harmless, it’s actually deceitful, deadly and incredibly selfish (Proverbs 1:32). It does not build me up in any way nor anyone around me. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he compares this to being dead. Yikes! Now, I’m not pointing fingers. I’m so guilty of this too, you don’t normally make a New Years Resolution to get better at something your already good at. However, this post is about inviting you to journey with me in the fight against complacency; to awaken and pursue the abundant life Jesus died to give us.
So here is a bit of what I have learned so far…
“Awake, O’ sleeper” – Even though the sun may wake us up for a moment each day, it’s our choice to respond to it with wakefulness or roll over and go back to sleep. In the same way when we encounter God, we chose if we want to awaken to Him or face the other way. When we say yes we become more aware, of our surroundings, ourselves and others. Since wakefulness is a state of the mind that the body then responds too. In our faith it starts with the renewing of our minds that everything is then affected by. This means spending our time pursuing things that don’t dull or distract our minds but instead increase our sensitivity to what God wants to do in and through us. So we can keep saying yes! The way we live our lives is the fruit of what we treasure in our hearts, and our minds are the gateway to what we allow to penetrate our hearts.
“Arise from the dead…”- Arise means to “rise up”. What we become aware of when are awake we then rise to act upon it. Yet we can’t do this alone. Isolation is the greatest influencer of complacency. When we have zero accountability, it’s easy to have very little motivation to grow. We were designed to be part of an active body. Unless we are functioning part of it, we won’t get very far. This means going beyond just attending church on Sunday, it means being the church. It means putting in effort, talking with and encouraging the body of believers that surround you.
Sometimes it’s easy to blame others for your lack of positive friendships. Feelings of bitterness or hurt can keep us on the outside. However being alone is actually far more dangerous than the risks you will take to find and develop friendships. If you don’t have many friends, start being the friend you want to have and similar people will be attracted to you. Pursue the people you want to be like! Ask to sit with them in church, ask them for coffee and intentionally connect with them. People are more likely to be honored by your pursuit than put off by it. You need the body, and it desperately needs you!
“…and Christ will shine on you”- Like a plant that is positioned under the sun will grow, when we chose to be awake we position ourselves under Jesus’ light. We are inviting more of Him into our lives and He honors it with His very own life-giving and glorious presence. It both refines us and makes us an effective witness of who He is. As our relationship with God grows so does our understanding of purpose, calling and our value! For the light of Christ reveals to us who we are and what we were created for.
Once we have a taste of our true value and potential it’s hard to hide in our complacency any longer. What was once safe and cozy will feel constricting and limiting. What we desire changes as the conditions of hearts go from asleep to awake as we walk in the knowledge that we have so much to offer! No longer do we want to hide what God has deposited in us, because we know it’s an essential part of God the world needs to see!
So , this year would our hearts come fully awake and rise up together as dearly beloved children of the light!
You are ever so loved!