Revelations: Sleeping through obedience
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One of the most effective methods of waking me up in the morning is turning on the television. As soon as the morning alarm sounds, I reach for the remote and press the power button on. With one eye open, I set the volume on low and allow the soft light to adjust my eyes from the darkness. And as the television commotion nudges me from a dream state, I gently open my eyes and watch whatever early morning program is streaming from the screen.
I was in Atlanta this week, visiting friends and family for the holidays and decided to stay the night at my sister's and brother-in-law's apartment. They're a cute, young, married couple, always eager to feed and board house guests, even if it means their guests sleep on a makeshift couch bed. But I agreed to the sleeping arrangements, thrilled to soak in some prolonged sister time watching "Friends" and catching up on life.
That night, I fell asleep on the couch in front of the living room television, and the following morning when my alarm sounded, I made a one-eyed reach for the television remote.
I clicked through a series of unfamiliar, out-of-state channels attempting to find an early morning, wake-me-up show.
I paused on the occasional infomercial, but as I continued surfing, I noticed every channel broadcasting at the pre-dawn hour featured a mega-church televangelist and an energized message about Jesus. It's not that I'm opposed to watching church on TV, but it was a bit too early to listen to preachers yelling the gospel at me. So I turned to the next channel, then the next, searching for news, or music, or cartoons, or something to entice me out of my sleep.
But I couldn't escape the televangelists. They were on every channel, representing every brand of Christianity: Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, non-denominational, among others.
The frustration of not finding a non-religious channel was enough to force open both eyes, but I still wasn't entirely awake. As I continued searching through the channels, I suddenly noticed a preaching pattern: Each of the sermons centered on obedience.
So, I decided to investigate.
I changed the channel from one station to the next, and as if they were perfectly timed, I'd hear the preachers utter, "When we're obedient to the Lord ." (Next channel) "The Lord wants our obedience ." (Next channel) "How important is it that we're obedient?" (Next channel) "Why does God require our obedience?"
I flipped through several channels that morning, eventually settling on Joyce Meyer. For the next half-hour, I listened to her deliver an entire sermon on obedience to the Lord. The message didn't sink in the way it may have if I had been fully alert, but I decided it was OK because I was only listening to Joyce to wake my brain up.
As the sermon came to a close and my brain somewhat functional, something occurred to me. I thought about how often Christians (me included) choose to live their lives half awake, halfway considering the importance of an obedient life. Even when we're fully awake, fully able to listen and process how we're supposed to honor God with our obedience, we gloss right over it, as if we're still asleep.
I know I'm not the only Christian who struggles with obedience. I'm sure there are many of us out there. But I realized that morning that the point of seeking a relationship with the Lord is so he can continually awaken our hearts and minds from a darkened slumber and give us his light, new eyes, and a refreshed spirit. And most of the time, the pathway to a refreshed and awakened spirit is lined with obedient steps in a one-way direction to God.
And when we're honoring God with our obedience, there's no way our spirits can remain asleep. But we have to be willing to wake up and pay attention for the Lord to move in our lives.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.