I Thess. 5:6

Therefore is the first word in this verse.  It’s a word that always refers to something that has been stated earlier, kind of like a back story.  In this case, it refers to the statement in verse 5 that we are children of the light and not of darkness. Therefore (because we are children of the light) let us not sleep, as do others.  Paul uses sleep to indicate an indifference to spiritual realities on the part of believers.  It covers all sorts of moral and spiritual laxity or carelessness.  When we grow sleepy and careless, we expose ourselves to the dangers of temptation to live in the darkness, not in the light. 

It is very tempting at this moment to launch into a sermon on all the ways we need to be awake; or at the very least to list many scriptures that warn us to be vigilant because Satan wanders about as a roaring lion, seeking his prey.  I’m very much afraid we have lost the attitude of watchfulness, soberness, and awareness of how quickly and easily we can descend into sin.

I believe it is more important for us to focus on what we know to be true.  The only way to detect a counterfeit is to be so familiar with the truth that we immediately see the false.  If we fail to study God’s Word, to hide it in our hearts, to seek its counsel from one day to the next, we will be far more likely to “sleep” and to become enslaved by sin in all its surface appeal.

I love Galatians 5:1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Too often, we like to claim that grace gives us the freedom to live as we choose.  I’d rather emphasize that it is grace that makes it possible for me to NOT be in bondage to my own desires, but to live in the freedom and light of His love.  As the old gospel song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy, in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

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