The older I get, the more aware I am of the shortness of life. It seems that time flies, even though the clock moves no faster than it did ten or twenty years ago. Not only that, all that I want to accomplish seems elusive. This is not mere bucket-list items (I do not have a bucket-list), but even the tasks started but not yet completed drag out and take longer than they should.
I complain that I am too tired and even say that I don’t feel like doing anything. Many times, a nap or anything mindless is more appealing than doing the dishes or even tackling a quilting project. Yet God does not let me get away with my excuses.
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. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:11–14)
I laugh at part of this passage. I’m not even slightly interested in the works of darkness that it describes. However, the flesh still has its desires. Put your feet up. Relax. Do nothing. Read a novel. Raid the refrigerator. Sip tea and gaze out the window.
Not that any of those things are always wrong. This is about motivation and priorities, about obeying God or doing my own thing. I’ve said before, I can avoid housework by reading my Bible all day, or I can avoid reading the Bible by doing housework all day.
The passage is about what I do instead of being filled with the Spirit and controlled by the will of God. It is about saying no to the I-wants that keep me from obeying God. I’m not to make provision for that, blatant or subtle, easy to discern or foggy.
Sleep is a euphemism for being out of touch, not alert to what is going on around me in the kingdom of God. This kind of sleep is induced by gratifying my fleshy desires to the point that I doze off and miss hearing the Lord speaking to me. While immorality and fighting may not be among those desires, the Holy Spirit will not let me use the old excuse of “It’s really not so bad” when it comes to selfish fulfillment. I’m not to make provision for anything that looks okay on the surface, but has become a cover up for my reluctance to walk where Jesus is leading me.
Lord, You know me well. I can hide behind “respectable sins” as easily as some can delve into those more obvious. Instead of doing that, You ask me to wake up. One reason is that I have no idea when You will take me home and my salvation will be consummated. You are telling me it is far better to be walking in the light when that happens than messing around with any sort of selfishness, no matter how ‘innocent’ it might appear. You know my heart.