Let us not sleep, as others do.
1 Thessalonians 5:6
There are many ways of encouraging the Christian to stay awake. First, let me strongly advise Christians to talk to each other about the ways of the Lord. In Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Christian and Hopeful, on their journey to the Celestial City, said to themselves, "To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse." Christian inquired, "Brother, where shall we begin?" And Hopeful answered, "Where God began with us." Then Christian sang this song:
When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb'ring eyes.
Saints' fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.
Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone are very liable to grow drowsy. Keep Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress on the road to heaven. But as you enjoy fellowship with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your conversation is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking to Him; let your heart be full of Him; let your lips speak of His worth.
Friend, live near to the cross, and you will not sleep. Work hard to impress yourself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which you are going. If you remember that you are going to heaven, you will not sleep on the road. If you think that hell is behind you, and the devil pursuing you, you will not loiter. Would the innocent sleep with the enemy in pursuit and the city of refuge before him?
Christian, will you sleep while the pearly gates are open--the songs of angels waiting for you to join them--a crown of gold ready for your brow? Ah, no! In holy fellowship continue to watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.