Do you ever have a hard time staying awake when you finally kick back in that recliner or favorite spot on the couch? It is like some mystical thing happens while you are watching TV or reading your book. Slowly, but ever so slowly, your eyes get heavier and heavier, until there is no resisting the urge to just close them for what you believe will be 'just a moment'. Then...without notice...you are snoozing away! The worst part about it is that it is only 6:30 p.m.! The sun has just set behind the hillside and the darkness has crept in - and somehow your body interprets that as it is time for a little slumber! If I happen to drift into one of these 'recliner comas' at that hour of the night, I am usually not able to get to sleep at my regular bedtime because my body will have found rest and 'recovery' after about 30 minutes! As hard as it may be to get up from the recliner and take a few laps around the house, it is what helps me to maintain alertness and to avoid the dreaded early evening 'recliner coma'.
Stay alert! Watch out! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour. Stand up against him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being laid upon your brothers and sisters throughout the world. (I Peter 5:8-9)
I used to think it was just 'old people' who suffered from the attack of the 'recliner coma', but I have come to realize it affects my younger children, so I am reassured that it is not an 'old people' thing! All kidding aside, there is a danger in allowing 'slumber' to come into our lives where alertness is really required. The more we fight 'slumber' from the place of 'rest', the harder it is to resist, isn't it? That is why I have to get out of the chair and walk a few paths around the house. I am forcing myself out of the place of 'rest' so that I can again make my body alert. There are times I think God is asking us to rise up out of our places of rest in order to again regain a full and consistent alertness about us in our spiritual lives. We could try to regain our alertness from our place of rest, but it isn't always possible until we 'rise up' and take the steps necessary to get the juices flowing again!
Do you know what happens when I don't maintain my spiritual alertness? I give into temptations, finding it a whole lot easier to compromise than to resist. As important as rest is to our bodies, it is equally as important to our spirit. But...God never intended for his kids to just 'rest' - we are called to do battle and battle requires us to be alert - on the watch - paying close attention - free and ready to move as movement may be required. I have an electric recliner, so to get up from it requires me to be patient while the footrest returns to the retracted position. If you need to respond quickly to something, you almost have to hurl yourself over the end of the footrest - not making for very solid footing as you move into action. Maybe there is a lesson there - in our ease and rest we don't always have the quickness to respond with the steadiest of 'standing' to life's 'urgent needs'.
I don't think it is by accident that God reminds us to stay alert and to be on the watch. On occasion, we need to stand, take a few laps, get our bearings and footing solid beneath us, and then refocus our 'guard'. It is okay to enjoy the rest God brings into our life, but it isn't the best place to resist temptation. Resistance is by definition a place of opposition - we are withstanding some force moving against us. There will always be opposition in life - it is the nature of living on this earth. We don't resist by remaining at rest, though. We resist by allowing the energies within us to come to life - providing the force moving against us some form of opposition to that movement. As important as rest is, resistance is equally as important. Just sayin!
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