3 Biblical Reasons to Get the Sleep You Need
- Scott Slayton ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor
- Updated Mar 18, 2021
For the last few months, I have been using an app called Moment to track the amount of time I spend on my phone. It has been tremendously helpful to see how many hours I can fritter away staring at things I won’t remember in five minutes.
One interesting thing the app does is that it tells you how long you “slept.” Of course, it has no way to track when you drifted off to sleep and when you woke up, but it does keep up with the last time you touched your phone before bed and the first time you pick it up in the morning. The average user of this app “sleeps” 6 hours and 48 minutes a night, which is less than most experts say we need each night.
It has been no secret that Americans sleep less than our forefathers did. Stress, caffeine, television, and the internet work together to deprive us of one of our most basic necessities. Unfortunately, we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t need sleep. In fact, we are tempted to see ourselves as weaker for needing sleep. When I was in Seminary, there seemed to be an unspoken competition to see who could go the longest on the smallest amount of sleep. Not sleeping to study for Seminary classes almost seemed to be more spiritual.
We even seem to have biblical evidence for our lack of sleep. The writer of
This passage shows us that excessive sleep must be renounced and the one who fails to get out of bed will ultimately come to poverty. This passage rebukes laziness, but when we read this passage to the exclusion of others, we fail to grasp everything the Bible teaches about sleep.
You need to sleep more than you realize. In fact, here are 3 reasons your need for sleep is profoundly theological and speaks volumes about where we place our hope and trust. Scripture gives us three reasons why we need to stop our striving to get ahead or our ceaseless desire for entertainment and go to sleep.
1. We need sleep because we are not God.
We often fail to think about what our daily habits say about our view of ourselves and our view of God. When we push ourselves morning to night seven days a week for months on end, we demonstrate that we have a messiah complex. We think the world will fall apart if we are not constantly doing something.
In our relentless drive to produce and provide, we face a horrible dilemma. We cannot keep driving without sleep before we start terrible and lashing out at the people around us. We were not made to function on a lack of sleep. The Psalmist says in
Much to our chagrin, we find that the world continues to function quite well while we sleep. Sleep reminds us that God is God and we are not. John Piper said this as only he can, “Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. Once a day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day.”
2. We need sleep because it is God's gift to us.
We also need to see sleep as a gift from God he freely gives us out of his love for us.
He prayed to the Lord in
While we might not face things this life-threatening, we think we must stay up later or get up earlier to do any number of things because we believe they must be done by us this moment or terrible things will happen. Look at what David said in
While David feared for his life he laid down and slept, then he woke up because the Lord kept him and protected him. In
3. We need sleep because our restless toil is foolish.
God offers us sleep. It seems so simple, but we refuse this gift from a lack of faith. We must repent of our idolatrous notion that we, our family, our friends, and the world need our constant activity. No one around us is ultimately dependent upon us.
Instead of working hours without end, get up in the morning and faithfully work during the day. When you are done, come home, eat, and relax with your family. Read a good book or sit down and have a conversation. Then at the end of the day, go to bed and get the sleep you require.
You will wake up in the morning to find that God was working even when you weren’t.
And he proved equal to the task.
This article originally appeared on One Degree to Another. Reprinted with permission.
Scott Slayton serves as Lead Pastor at Chelsea Village Baptist Church in Chelsea, AL and writes at his personal blog One Degree to Another: scottslayton.net. He and Beth have been married since 2003 and have four children. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottslayton.
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