Ephesians 2:1-10 OR Thats one big alarm clock.
I have trouble waking up some mornings.
Thanks to the amazing genetics of my parents, I can withstand the onslaught of even the best alarm clocks. (To their credit, one gave me the super-power of "night-owl", the other, the gift of coffee consumption). I learned the hard way that if I want to definitely make it somewhere on time in the morning, I will set two alarm clocks. Maybe three. Gone are the days of me bolting up in my bed and shocking my heart into a 20% increase. My metabolism is slowing.
Anyway, it is a blessing to have a decent method of waking up. Sure, going to bed on time would help - but whats the fun in that? Its the ordeal in the morning that makes things really fun.
There are some pretty ingenious alarm clocks. I think waking up is so hard because I enjoy sleeping so much. And as an aside, I love waking up in the morning, then getting back in bed and falling asleep again.
In Ephesians 2, Paul cannot be clearer in his imagery. Especially for me - you were once dead. But aren't anymore - now you are alive through faith in Christ. You were asleep but now you are awake.
You know, when someone dies, sometimes people will tell children that someone is "asleep" (well-meaning, but dangerous). There are several places in the bible where the language brings ambiguity or confusion about whether someone is asleep or dead. Some even argued that Jesus wasn't dead in that tomb, he was just asleep and thats why he could leave.
What is it to be dead? Dead is dead. right? There is no coming back from that. It is the negation of life - and once something is dead, its dead. Or else we'd say it is simply...
Asleep. What is it to be asleep? Inactive, unconcious, but still able to be awake (the dictionary I checked actually said its to cease being awake). but you can always wake up. Being asleep is temporary - thats the whole idea of being asleep.
As a human, you NEED sleep. Your brain simpyl cannot function without you resting/sleeping. Which is really weird because scientists have discovered when you are sleeping your brain does all kind of fun things it can't do when you are awake. It goes places, does as it wishes, and really doesn't slow down at all. But without sleep, you'd die. Literally. But the whole point of sleep is to be more productive when you are awake.
But time and time again the Bible denies that death is permenant. In Ephesians 2, Paul argues that its time to wake up. Things aren't like they used to be. Sure, you were once dead.
Whats that? You don't think you ever died? Hmmmm. Lets think about it like asleep/awake then. Just because you have a pulse doesn't mean you are human. Just because your heart has always been beating doesn't mean you have made the most of every moment you've drawn breath. Besides, our flesh can be weak. It doesn't always work like we expect or want.
All of us have lived in the flesh. We've all been there. But while we were still asleep, God woke us up. Not because we were awake, looking for him, or even trying to be good Christians. But because God is the ultimate alarm clock.
Paul says that we have been lifted up. Not just to an existence of getting by, but to Godly activities. He says we have been seated with Christ in heavenly places!
Henry David Thoreau said, "the mass of men live lives of quiet desparation." In 1854 he went out in the woods to figure out what live really is. And he determined, rightly, that people are slaves to their jobs, their responsibilities, their work. In a way, he figured out that most people are trapped where they are. Desparate and alone. They need to be set free. They need to wake up. They need to be alive.
Plato said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Its hard to wake up. And you don't do it by working hard to stay awake. Verse 8 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
We were meant to be awake. I think once, we were. Call it childhood innocence - call it how you were before you became bitter. Before the drugs or the great trauma in your life.
Verse 10 - For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Jesus wakes us up! He shocks us - not because he enjoys shocking people, but because maybe you need a good shake. And the love he proclaims is so distant from the life you've known.
Let God wake you up - you were created for great things.