Summary: how God wants us to stay awake in this dark world

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January 27, 2002 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11

4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to the hard earned purchase of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (NIV)

There’s a saying in life that says, “roll with the changes.” Throughout a person’s lifetime we have to make a lot of adaptations to our living conditions. When I moved into a dorm at college, I had to adjust to living with a new roommate. When he was expelled from school, I had to adjust to another one. I had to grow used to living and taking on my own responsibilities of homework and work and play. It wasn’t the easiest thing to adjust to, but I managed.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that getting married and having kids would take so much change. I don’t know what I was thinking, but before I was married I used to think that marriage would be just like being single, except you’d have someone else living in the house with you. But pretty soon I began to realize that life wouldn’t be the same. There was someone else who was now my teammate - who I had to keep informed as to what was going on. And once we had kids, my complete schedule seemed to be locked into when the children were fed, clothed, entertained and put to bed. Never in my life did I have to make so many adjustments as when I was married and had kids.

This may sound strange, but I think one of the most major adjustments I’ve had to make is in my sleeping patterns. Before I was married I would generally go to sleep at 10 and get up when I wanted to. But now I live with four other people who have completely different sleeping patterns than I do. My infant son likes to wake up at 3 and have a little snack. My three year old girl loves to come bouncing in my room every morning to inform me that it’s almost light out and time to get up. Little does she realize that I went to bed later than she did and woke up in the middle of the night. But that doesn’t matter to her. Some days are just really difficult to stay awake. This is true in a spiritual sense as well. It’s difficult to stay awake, so Paul encourages us to -

Never Say “Good Night”

In his letter to the Romans Paul said, “the night is almost over.” (13) He compares living in this world to living in the dark. It is natural to sleep when it is dark out, because the darkness somehow triggers a hormone within us called melatonin, which is supposed to help us sleep. When I was in high school I used to work the graveyard shift. During this time, we would mop and wax sections of the store. This was not easy to do, for by the end of the night, my body would eventually get more and more tired. It was the natural thing to do because that’s the way our bodies are made - to sleep at night.

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