My title today is a quote from the movie “Master of Disguise”.
Pistachio Disguisy after a long day of transmogrification says to his dog, “The sleepy time, she comes.” Sometimes I feel like I am living in the church of Pistachio instead of the church of Jesus Christ. I feel like I am spending a pretty good portion of my time lately fighting off spiritual somnolence in myself and my fellow Christians.
But I know this should not surprise me. The prophetic word the Lord has warned us with again and again of late is from Matthew. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24: 12,13 NIV
Do you question where the spiritual lethargy you see all around you is coming from? According to Scripture it is coming from the increase of wickedness in our land. Wickedness in a nation is like spiritual ether; It numbs, and stupefies those who breathe it in.
Listen to what Scripture says:
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
Sin does not just effect an individual. The sins that individuals participate in effect those around them and when enough people within a nation practice sin then the whole nation is effected. Spiritual somnolence is only one manifestation of that wickedness. ( See Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and Ezek 14:13-23).
It is the increase of wickedness which opens the door to so many of the trials around us. This makes sense on a practical level. For instance, divorce is rampant in our culture because we have embraced a wicked definition of love that has to do with sex and romance rather than I Corinthinas 13. I am not against sex or romance; Both are wonderful but they are not the basis of married love. Putting them as primary definers of a healthy marriage rather than the dictates of Scripture is wickedness. Yet so many people are ending their marriages because they “don’t love the person anymore”. What they are saying is the romance is gone. I’ve got news for you romance is like a rainstorm. It blows in and blows out and often in a drought you have to seed the clouds a little before you get any.
Our example from marriage, though, is only one of the many cultural issues that is creating our national spiritual weariness. So much wickedness on so many levels causes so many trials.: trials in the home, trials in the church, trials in the world around us. It’s no wonder we just want to escape and sleep, shut our spiritual eyes to the truth.
I fight the slumber everyday. In me it manifests in a desire to skip daily prayer, shut my Bible without reading it, or just read the Word without even thinking about what I am looking at. I find myself not wanting to go to church, and often going with no expectations of being met by a Living God. Some days I have trouble believing God is going to do anything in my life and I just want to give up the whole Christian thing altogether.
I believe these are feelings many of my brothers and sisters share. But here’s the thing and the victory over the thing, these feelings are JUST FEELINGS. Further,I am not my feelings nor am I subject to my feelings!
I have come to a conclusion. This lukewarmness I feel is not self-generated. It is a spirit (and by that I mean a real ectoplasmic, demonic, satan-inspired entity). This spirit is working through the promotion of wickedness in our culture to produce a numbing and stupefying effect on all our people, Christian and non-Christian alike.
Here’s the good news. Because it is a spirit we are facing, we have power to conquer it according to the Scripture. If we choose to fight then we can beat the “sleepy time” every time it comes on us. My testimony is that though the enemy constantly attacks me with the wickedness I see all around me and tries to weary me, though he makes me feel like giving up, he never succeeds! Always I go to the Lord and I “get salve for my eyes, buy gold refined in the fire, and get my linen robe” (Rev. 3:18). When I do the fires and joy of my salvation always return.
This enemy, who has spawned such wickedness in our society, like every demon, does his work on the foundation of lies, false suppositions that weaken the minds of those he attacks. He has formulated three lies in particular against the church. Our victory is in defeating these lies with the truth.
We will talk about these lies and their corresponding truths in the days ahead. For now it is enough to state them:
1. Christians are weak
2. The world system is powerful and beautiful and should be pursued.
3. Because Christians are weak and because the world is so desirable, Christians cannot resist and have no choice but to accept some worldliness in their lives.
I leave you to dwell on the words of Romans 13:11,12
“Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don’t live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.”
Brothers and sisters, I hope you don’t sleep well tonight!