”Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise...” [Eph. 5:14-15]
I once read in a book [The Light And The Glory, I think] on American history how during the years of slavery in the South one woman had punished her house slaves by making them stand on one leg for long periods of time. The room where the slave’s cries were heard was later used as a prayer/Bible Study room when the owners friends were over. That story struck me. I have wondered how could a person be so cruel on one hand and “Christian” on the other hand without any apparent knowledge of the contradiction. How could a Christian have such unChristian conduct?
Of course, the problem is not new. Jesus faced the same thing with the Pharisees. They were so religious - dedicated to studying the Old Testament, prayer, and fasting - and yet their hearts were as hard as concrete. They studied the passages about the Messiah, they could quote many of them, and yet when the Messiah stood right in front of them, they missed Him.
History is full of such examples right down to our own time. People who appear very religious on the outside, but commit acts of cruelty or unChristian conduct. The sad fact is, many times, they think they are doing God’s work or, at least, see nothing wrong in their acts. In doing wrong they think they are doing right. They are asleep to the Truth.
As I look into my own life I have to ask, am I asleep to the Truth? Are there areas where I am doing wrong while I think I am doing right?
We would like Christianity to be a very “spiritual” religion. Unfortunately, Christianity is very practical. It gets right to where we live every day. It deals with how we treat our spouse, our children, our employer/employees, and every other facet of daily life. It rolls up its sleeves and gets down to the bottom of the muck of our lives - stuff we would much rather forget about or gloss over with a “That’s just the way I am” or “It doesn’t really matter.” It says "No" to unChristian conduct.
As you know, I believe in Bible Study, prayer, going to church, praise and worship, and all those things, but if they don’t impact our daily lives I am afraid we may still be sleeping in sin. If we can sit comfortably in church, pray, and study our Bibles, and then yell at our spouse, use profanity, ignore the needs of others, etc., without it even troubling our conscience then we are in trouble.
Practicality is true spirituality. To put it briefly: We need to live holy lives. God requires it. If we callously indulge in sin - bitterness, anger, jealously, unforgiveness, etc., - then it may be that we have never awaken. Maybe we are still dead in sin and only think we are alive because of our “religious” activities. Real Christianity changes people’s daily lives. We are no longer content to live with sin. We are at war with sin. Our unChristian conduct is changed into Christian conduct. Yes, there are struggles and temporary defeats. The struggle itself is evidence of a new life within us. We are no longer content to be the way we were. We now walk wisely, planning the strategy to defeat sin in a practical way. We look at our areas of weakness, commit them to God, and examine ways to avoid situations that lead us into temptation. Our eyes are open. We are awake watching our steps not blindly stumbling into to every sin-filled ditch.
God demands a holy people. If we are going to inherit His promises - live in our Canaan - then we are going to have to be that people. It is not a work of the flesh, trying to strive to be better to please God. It is when we realize we already belong to God that we allow Him to work in and through us to give us both the desire and ability to walk in victory and holiness. Then we leave unChristian conduct behind.