Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2
A couple of days ago, a train derailed in a nearby small town – you likely saw it on the news – igniting several train cars of ethanol and causing a fire that went on for hours. Due to potential toxic fumes, the town of 800 had to be evacuated quickly, which I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about. How did that work? Since then, I’ve heard a few people relay their experience. Most folks of course, were sleeping in the early morning hours, unaware of the event until EMS and law enforcement aggressively knocked on their doors. Wake up! You must leave now! With the potential of life-threatening danger, citizens of Raymond, Minnesota had to quickly wake up and spring into action.
This was the message of Christ in today’s passage – Wake up! You’re in mortal danger! In the passage, Jesus chastised the church in Sardis. They’d once followed Christ, yet they’d fallen asleep. To them, Jesus said, I know your works and I have found them completely inadequate (my paraphrase). These Christians claimed faith in Christ, but their way of life was completely contrary to that supposed faith. They claimed to follow God, but they followed themselves above all. To this, Christ said, Wake up! You’re in mortal danger. Remember. Revive yourselves. Repent.
I’ve been there. In my addiction, my behavior was completely contrary to that which I claimed to believe. I wasn’t spiritually awake. Rather, I’d fallen asleep and was sleepwalking through life. I required a painful jolt to interrupt my slumber, shaking me into consciousness. Now, in recovery, the challenge is to not grow apathetic, falling once again into laziness and stagnation. As life returned to normal after the disaster of my addiction, it was tempting to go back to the old way of life. The old way of life though, is exactly what led to my disaster in the first place.
So, today, and every day, Christ words apply to me as they apply to all of us. Wake up! Remember why you were created. God made us to live in a loving relationship with him. If we call ourselves Christians, then our behavior must reflect that. Do we daily get up, read, pray, and point our lives at God? Do we pursue him and his will daily? Or do we simply go about our day following our ourselves above all? If so, then we’re spiritually asleep. To this, Christ commands that we wake up, repent, and follow him – because our spiritual lives are in mortal danger.