Without equivocation, everyone needs to sleep and have a good sleep too. Sleeping is the condition or state of the body and cognizance which typically recurs for several hours every night (sometimes during the day for some), in which the nervous system is sedentary, inactive, lethargic, the eyes are closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and awareness practically suspended.
Sleep is sometimes thought to help conserve energy. We are advised medically to get at least six to eight hours of sleep daily in order to function properly – some need more and some need less. We are also advised to find out how much sleep we need and try to achieve it.
If you wake up tired and spend the day longing for a chance to have a nap, it is likely that you’re not getting enough sleep. Please try and get enough sleep, if not for anything, for your health and well-being.
However this piece is really not about sleeping but the application of sleep in our general lives and the effects. The word sleep is used, as a metaphor in scripture and this is where I would like to pitch our tent today. It is katheudo in the Greek language – which gives a sense of the carnal indifference to spiritual things on the part of believers, a condition of insensibility to divine things involving conformity to the world or the cosmic system.
A cliché like “wake up and smell the coffee” connotes a person is asleep in the mind and needs to become alert. It could mean the attention of the said person needs to be gotten. It could also mean a lack of understanding coupled with the fact that the person in question might be slow in their thoughts.
Physically speaking, when we sleep, we cannot see, we cannot read, our understanding is not functioning because some of our five senses shut down during the process of sleeping. It would therefore be impossible to function as though one is awake. Spiritually speaking, sleep means a plethora of things. It is taken as a time of darkness and a time of ignorance.
You will read of Samson and the stripping of the power that God gave him. He was able to lose his power, not when he was awake, but when he slept. One could say that, Samson did not know when he was stripped off the power because he was sleeping.
Jesus, when He heard that Lazarus his friend was sick, said to His disciples that the sickness was not unto death but that the power and the glory of God would be revealed. He further told them that Lazarus was asleep that He needed to go and wake him up from sleep. His disciples responded saying, if Lazarus is sleeping, they could go and sleep just like him. Though the disciples were physically awake, one could say they were asleep spiritually. And Jesus now had to point out to them that Lazarus is dead! Their understanding was limited to the wisdom of the world. He woke them up in their minds.
Jesus also made a statement about the temple – “I will bring down this temple and in three days I will raise it again”. He said this as a response to their request to him for a sign that He was truly the Messiah. When the people heard this, they said this temple was built for forty six years, and why would anyone say He can build it up in three days. They must have thought that He was out of His mind, not knowing Jesus was talking about His own body as the temple. He indeed spoke about His death, burial and resurrection – The purpose of God for Him.
He was hanged upon that cross and some said “couldn’t this man who said he was going to build the temple in three days, help himself?” They never knew he was going through the first day of the rebuild of the temple (His Body). The temple in those days was the great meeting place for the people of God; it was the place of sacrifice. Little did they know that on the third day when he rises up from the dead, that he would then become the meeting place – the Temple with all the power that is required to bring someone back from the dead. Again they were sleeping.
He was picked up by the Jews and led to Pontius Pilate (the governor) to be sentenced. He was savagely beaten and finally sentenced to death. His cross was put on him and as He carried the cross, the Jews began to mock Him, calling Him King of the Jews – but indeed He was the King that proceeded from the lineage of David. The Jews were indeed sleeping as they carried out the purposes and the plan of God in the life of Jesus.
Jesus again told a parable to His disciples about two men who owed some money to a rich man. One owed fifty Denarii and the other owed two hundred Denarii. He told them as He completes the parable that the rich man forgave them: they would have felt what a generous rich man. Jesus then asked them about who should be more thankful between the two debtors. Obviously they will answer correctly: the man that owed more. They would readily think He was just telling them one of His tales again. He made himself clear that the person who owed much represented the nation of the Gentiles and the person who owed little represented the Jews. – Again they were sleeping and refused to take the Gospel to the Gentile world when the time came – hence the discovery of the great Apostle Paul.
On getting to Bethany, Jesus saw Mary and Martha and they both had the same idea – if Jesus were around or responded to them when they needed Him, their brother would not have died. He answered them by reminding them that He was the resurrection and the life making them understand that Lazarus would come back to life, and they said “yeah, yeah in the next life”. They definitely were sleeping but physically they were awake. They did not believe that they could have their brother back, the one who had been dead for four days. They slept in their minds.
Jesus made it clear in one of His sermons to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, submit himself to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter was so asleep in his thoughts and mind: he began to rebuke and protest saying “Impossible Master! That can never be”. Immediately Jesus rebuked Peter and made it clear to him that he was thinking like the people in the world – he was not thinking God’s thoughts.
From the examples above, we are able to know and understand that ignorance is a form of sleeping. When we don’t know or understand the will and purpose of God, we would be deemed as sleeping. A wrong teaching and a wrong understanding are two vital tools that can send us to a very deep sleep and when we are supposed to know and recognise what God is doing, there is nothing to keep us awake.
Ignorance is the reason why we sleep in our mind but awake physically. Ignorance is a state of being uninformed or uneducated. It designates a person who is heedless and is often used as an insult to describe persons who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts. Charles Darwin was right when he remarked, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge does”.
Paul prayed that God gives us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to us. He prayed that the eye of our heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working amongst us believers – the power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength.
Jesus when He got to Gethsemane with His disciples. He told them to pray and while He went and came back to meet them, He met them sleeping. He woke them up and told them to pray with Him. While He left, they went back to sleep – so He had to go all the way by Himself.
Are we sleeping, are we ignorant of the Will and purpose of the Father? Please wake up and discover what God is doing in your life, for all things are already working together because we love God and are called in accordance with His purpose.
Wake Up and Be refreshed!