The Amplified Bible renders 2 Corinthians 5:10 like this: “For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil, [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].” Please read it again, very slowly. Let the gravity of those words sink into your mind and spirit.
If suddenly you were revealed as you really are, what would people see? Would it be a different you than they were used to? What have you achieved? What are you giving yourself to accomplish? What or who has your attention? What are your motives and purpose in what you are busy working toward? We all have carefully learned answers to such questions. Of course, we are giving ourselves to the work of the Lord for His glory. Really? That’s the right answer, but is it true? Certainly it is the goal of every real Christian – to please God above all else. But Satan is doing everything he can to turn us from that goal. He is fighting hard because it is so close to the end. He wants to lull us to sleep to keep us from accomplishing eternal purposes.
When religion replaces relationship with Christ, we have been lulled to sleep. When “getting out of the box” really means trading in tradition for the newest fad, we have become drunk with the world system, reeling from box to box and fooling ourselves. When motivational speeches have replaced the message of Jesus Christ crucified, dead and resurrected to save us from our sins, denying ourselves and becoming one with the Father, we are severely lacking in truth.
We seem to have forgotten passages of scripture like 1 John 2:15. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” If we believe that scripture, why would we want to copy the practices of the world by developing our Christian version of it? We try to offer a “Christian alternative” to every holiday and trend of the world, but wouldn’t it be better to simply offer them Jesus in the power of His Spirit? If we want to give them something different, why don’t we, instead of trying to wrap Him in their trappings? We are not to live in darkness, but in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not a message to condemn, but an urgent message to rouse us out of our sleep to arise and follow Jesus.
We are living very close to the day of Jesus’ return, the coming of antichrist and the judgment of God upon this earth. It is of grave importance that we wake up from our slumber and become the people He has called us to be and do the work He has called us to do. The hour is too late to offer emotionally charged but spiritually empty performances in Jesus’ name. It is too late to offer messages that are only “bless me” oriented and leave out the teachings of Jesus that we are to sacrifice to bless others and selflessly do the work of the Kingdom. It is too late for our churches to be passive rather than places of pure worship and equipping the saints to take the message outside the walls. It is too late for us to be striving for positions, money, power and the honor of men, rather than taking on the role of a servant. It is time to be kind to God and not always be asking Him to be kind to us. We need to wake up!
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
Those who sleep are in a state of partial unconsciousness. Spiritually speaking, they are carnal (thinking from a darkened mind) and indifferent to the things of God’s Spirit. They are sluggish in their understanding of spiritual matters and the times and seasons. A person who is drunk has lost their self-control, their balance and their ability to think or express themselves because they have put poison inside them. The word ‘intoxicate’ comes from the root of two Latin words; one meaning ‘in’ and the other meaning ‘poison’. When we as Christians give our attention to the things of the world rather than the things of God, we are filling our spirit with poison. We lose our ability to think and comprehend clearly. We even lose our ability to walk in the Spirit and communicate clearly. In either case, whether asleep or drunk, we are not fit to do the work of the Kingdom. We are instructed to be alert and sober. That may mean renewing our faith in a Holy God and giving Him the reverence He deserves. It may mean renewing our passion for Him alone. It may mean renewing our hope in His promise of salvation - His way, not our way.
2 Peter 3 tells us “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [behavior] and godliness”. We Christians need to shake ourselves and wake up. Where is our zeal? Where is our power? Just as alcohol is never the answer for the flesh, filling our minds with worldly things is not the answer for our spirit. We need to keep intoxicants from our spirits so we can be spiritually alert. Satan has offered us a sedative to make us comfortable in this world, and we have taken it. His real intention is to take our eyes off Jesus. Jesus never promised us a comfortable life in this world, but the power to overcome. The only place we can find the power to overcome is at the feet of Jesus, learning of Him and being filled with His Holy Spirit. Then we can have our minds transformed to the mind of Christ and be free from the influence of intoxicants.
We are warned further in 2 Peter 3, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” We may know the dangers ahead of time, but that alone will not save us from the enemy.
A soldier who studies the enemy’s tactics and learns how to conquer them, then settles down to sleep will be captured by the enemy and will put many others in danger. Knowledge in itself will not get the job done. It takes putting that knowledge into action. The scripture here tells us to “beware”. That means to stay alert and be prepared for danger and the wiles of the devil.
We need to watch. The meaning of watching is not only to stay awake, but to stay awake because one is so intent upon something. If we put all our emphasis on the enemy, we won’t have the offense ready. The positive side is to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
As we are watchful of the enemies’ devices, we are also watchful in readiness. If we want to be ready, we have to make the effort it takes to continually grow in grace (the Divine touch on our hearts and its outflow from our lives). If we will observe the example of Jesus, we will discover He made time with the Father a priority. His whole purpose was to do the Father’s will, so He had to know what it was. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is our lifeline. It is everything, because we get our strength, wisdom and guidance from Him. We need to become one with Him in character, in purpose, in service, in love. We can only do that as we are consistently influenced by being in His presence. The things of this world are passing away, and if we want to invest in something eternal, we must stay connected with Jesus Christ. Just doing and saying the right things won’t work. We must have the anointing (the touch of God) on our lives to give power and substance to our work. As John the Baptist observed, we must decrease and Jesus must increase. Our wants and desires must fade away as we merge into His will and desires. In this close fellowship and walking it out in our lives, we will be set free from the bondage of the temporary to soar with the eternal.
“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, redeeming the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14-16