Jump Start # 2822
1 Thessalonians 5:5b-6 “We are not of the night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
Daytime and nighttime. Some folks are early morning people. Others are late at night people. Some get their best work done before noon. Some are just getting started around noon. In this section of Thessalonians, Paul is talking about daytime and nighttime. Later in the context he says, “for those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day…”
The use of daytime and nighttime is not about what time it is. It’s not about when one is at his peak in productivity. It’s about being spiritual or being worldly. It’s about righteousness and sinfulness. The darkness refers to that which is wrong. The daytime refers to what is right. We are of the day.
There is a practical understanding to this. More crime happens at night. More trouble happens at night. If you drive by a small town bar, it’s always dark inside, very dim. It’s not like driving by a Walmart. The darkness conceals trouble. It allows a bad person to do bad things and not be seen.
Our verse, again recognizes that Christians are of the day, not the night. We are called to be alert, sober and aware of what’s going on and aware of where we are headed. Our verse tells us not to sleep as others do. Again, this is not literal, because everyone must sleep sooner or later. He is talking about being asleep in life. Not being aware of what’s going on. Not paying attention. Not being alert, as the passage points us to.
Have you wondered why some “sleep” through life?
First, it may be that they don’t want to know what’s going on. Knowing, may involve action required on their part and they don’t want to do that. So, they ignore situations and live in the make believe world that everything is fine and everything will just turn out ok in the end.
This is a danger in the home. Teenagers rude behavior, slipping grades, skipping classes and hanging out with some rough kids are signs of trouble. Drugs. Immorality. Crime. The daytime parents see these things and actions are taken to save that child before he crashes in the rocks. The nighttime parents tell themselves that “kids will be kids,” and they become neglectful in doing anything. That is, until one night the police call and the child has been arrested, or seriously injured.
This is a danger in the congregation. Some shepherds are asleep at the helm. Members dropping out. People spreading wild ideas and spiritual poison among each other and neglectful elders believe that this is just a phase some go through and everything will be ok. They believe that until one Sunday they find out that twenty families have left and started a new congregation and that new congregation is moving quickly away from God’s pattern. Daytime or nighttime?
Second, others are so carnal and worldly minded that a spiritual thought never enters their mind. They never think about thanking the Lord in prayer. They never darken a church building. They have a Bible, but they are not sure where it is, probably in box in a closet somewhere. Their entire world revolves the here and now. Secular. Worldly. Minds wrapped around sports, politics, finance, and fun. Little depth. No observation. No insights. Shallow conversations. Empty plans. Empty hearts. The reason they are nighttime people is because that has been their entire life. That’s all they know and like a guy with a bad limp, they’ve gotten use to dwelling in darkness. The only time their world is rattled is when they must go to the funeral home. That scares them and for a moment they are thrust into the daytime. They don’t like it and as soon as they can get out of there and return to their nightlife, they’ll do. None the better. No lessons learned.
Third, some like the nighttime more than the daytime. Again, we are not talking about the hour on the clock but what’s in the heart of a person. Nighttime is void of God and spirituality. Daytime is alert, sober, serving and considerate. In the night, you don’t think about consequences. In the night you don’t think about influence. In the night you don’t think about others. Nighttime is a selfish world of lust, greed and want. Nighttime people don’t think about rules and what’s right. They don’t think about what’s best. And, that’s just the way they want things to be. They have wallowed in the mud with pigs so long that they actually enjoy it. The sickness and headache and pain that follows a night of drinking doesn’t stop them. They’ll return right back to that. The fear of sexual disease or pregnancy doesn’t slow them down on immorality. They’ll return right back to that. The addictive nature of drugs and alcohol doesn’t slow them down. Living fast. Living free. Responsible to no one. They believe they have the world by the tail and are standing on top of the world. Daytime? Absolutely not for these people. They love where they are. They don’t care if it’s sin. They don’t care if they are losing their souls. They indulge and drink sin by the gallons. They laugh when you mention Jesus. They have no time for worship. They are not interested in what is decent, moral, right and good. They are after what they want and nothing will stop them. Blind as they are, they wouldn’t trade their lives for yours for all the money in the world. They never realize how miserable, lonely and broken they really are. They never see how they have ruined themselves and lost great opportunities. They are not alert. They are not sober. They laugh their way through the day and through a lifetime.
But, we are of the day. We are careful. We are alert. Our eyes are open. We consider. We think. We include God. Our way is sure. Our future is bright. Our journey, though hard, is a blessing. We surround ourselves with quality people who love us, support us and are there for us.
We are of the day…