A servant of God taught that the way to tell that we are not spiritually alert is
- “When we notice that we are more interested in the thing of the world (1 John 2:15).
- When we notice that we manifest more of the works of flesh (Gal. 5:19-21).
- When we are not hungry for spiritual food (Col. 3:15-16).
- When we no longer hear the voice of God.
Then, he taught that we can become spiritually alert by
- Studying the word daily (Joshua 1:8).
- Getting a partner with whom we pray and discuss spiritual matters, and
- Having a constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit in prayer.”
Looking further, I realize that to be asleep means “a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.” Sometimes we also use the word ‘sleep’ for refer to ‘death.’
So using this above dictionary definition, I want to suggest that to be spiritually asleep:
- is for one’s body, mind, nervous system to become inactive to holiness or things that matter to God. In this state, one’s heart is not all the time thinking of the kingdom of God.
- It is for one’s eyes to be closed to holiness, one’s spiritual posture or stand to be relaxed concerning holiness. At this stage, one continues to let sin slide.
- It is for one’s consciousness of purity to be practically suspended.
Oh, what a state of death to be!
Dangers of Staying Spiritually Asleep:
- A sleeper can fall off. Remember the young man, Eutychus, who dozed off during Paul’s sermon in the bible and fell off the window – three stories down (Acts 20:9-12). During spiritual sleep, one can fall off Christ’s presence – no longer hearing His voice. Pray God will awaken you from all types of sleep that could cut you off from hearing His voice and instructions, in Jesus name.
- A sleeper can die unexpectedly in strange places: General Sisera fell fast asleep during war against Israel; Lady Jael drove a peg into his temple (the side of the head behind the eyes) and he died (Joshua 4:17-21). We are at war with the devil; pray that you will not fall asleep at war. Pray that all the generals that work for the devil against your life shall be put to death.
- A sleeper’s strength is easily removed: Samson fell asleep and lady Delilah cut off his dreadlocks, giving room for the departure of the Holy Spirit from him and also his capture, imprisonment, enslavement and death (Judges 16:20). Pray that your spirit-man will stay awake, to avoid destruction.
- A sleeper can bring disappointment: Peter, James and John disappointed Jesus when they kept falling asleep at the time He needed them to be praying to help him. It is dangerous for us to be relaxing when we are supposed to be caring for our fellow Christians ( 26:37-45). Pray that God will keep you awake in the area of helping others.
- Robert Schnase wrote that, to be spiritually asleep is to miss God and what He is doing.
- Jesus says His coming will be like a thief for those who will not wake he up – 3:2-3
- As you can see from the above list, even the highly spiritual can be tormented by sleep: at the garden of Gethsemane the disciples couldn’t watch in prayer with Jesus
- Thank God for Mary, the disciples would have slept off and missed the resurrection of Jesus
So Jesus is now telling us in Matthew 24 that a lot of things will be happening in the world around us to indicate that His coming is at hand, advising us therefore NOT to sleep. He wants us to stay awake so that we won’t miss His coming.
In Mk 13, Jesus repeated 3 times that we should stay awake (Mk. 13:33, 35, 37).
Some Other Scriptures That Say We Should Stay Awake:
- “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” 24:42
- “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13
- “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16:15
- “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thess. 5:6
To Stay Awake
We must watch our hearts and ways, making sure that we consistently and continuously live lives that please God. This means we are constantly monitoring/weighing our thoughts, feelings and actions with the word of God, in prayer and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
- Become a friend of your bible; in it you will read practical ways of staying awake. See Romans 12:1-end & 13:1-end.
- Become a person of prayer; 1 Thess. 5:17 says we should “pray without ceasing.”
- Involve the Holy Spirit in all you do. Fellowship with Him who helps us to pray – (Rom. 8:26).
- Know who you are: what your sins you could easily fall into and run away from the things that weaken your spiritual stamina.
- Stay focused on Jesus whom you are expecting.
- Practice sharing your daily Christian journey with a partner who can encourage you ( 3:13).
Since we are particular about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Matthew 24, it becomes of utmost importance to keep awake. “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Rom. 13:11
Let Us Pray:
- Pray with thanksgiving – “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;” 4:2
- When you are awake praying, pray that you may escape lawlessness and antichrist – “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Lk 21:36
Eutychus was raised from death from he fell off due to physical sleep (Acts 20:9-12); Lord please wake me up from all spiritual sleep that can kill my spiritual awareness.
 Niran Kolawole, “Importance of Staying Alert” (lecture, CAC WOSEM, Queens, NY, March 27, 2018).
“Sleep,”, accessed March 28, 2018, https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=Ds67WoG4NZKd5wK3vZKADw&q=meaning+of+sleep&oq=meaning+of+sleep&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.3.35i39i70i249j0l4.1677.8773.10876…1….314.2278.1j14j0j1……….1.mobile-gws-wiz-hp….3.35i39j0.
 Robert Schnase, “Staying Awake: The Practice of Spiritual Attentiveness,” Robert Schnase, accessed March 28, 2018, http://robertschnase.com/blog/97-staying-awake-the-practice-of-spiritual-attentiveness/