Asleep at the Kneel: A Wake Up Call for Christians - Lori Altebaumer

May. 04, 2022

Asleep at the Kneel: A Wake Up Call for Christians

Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”  Luke 22:46 There are a lot of things I want to hear Jesus say to me, but “why are you sleeping” isn’t one of them. That being said, I can imagine the challenge…

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Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”  Luke 22:46

There are a lot of things I want to hear Jesus say to me, but “why are you sleeping” isn’t one of them.

That being said, I can imagine the challenge the disciples faced. They were physically exhausted from three years of traveling ministry and mentally exhausted trying to discern what Jesus meant when He talked about His death and resurrection. They were full of the Passover meal, beneath a starry sky, on a pleasant spring evening. All was calm and quiet, and they succumbed to the desire of the flesh for a little sleep.

Jesus asked them to stay awake with Him, but they didn’t feel the urgency and need. Afterall, they’d just spent three years watching Jesus calm the storms and raise the dead.  What could possibly go wrong?

Yet Jesus asked this one thing, and they failed.

Has Jesus asked something of us? Is the request to stay awake a word for us today?

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep,” Ephesians 5:14 NKJV

In Matthew 24:42, Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

Some translations render the word watch as be alert or stay alert. Either way, it’s hard to watch when I am asleep.

The word used for sleep in Luke 22:46 may mean physical sleep here, but it can also used to mean spiritual carelessness or indifference.

Jesus is warning us against this spiritual carelessness that may soon lead to apathy. And apathy when it’s fully known, leads to enslavement.

Staying awake is the only way we’ll fulfill His command in Matthew 28:19, “Go, therefore, and make disciples…”

A disciple isn’t just a student, but a follower.

Go and make followers of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t camp out in the synagogues, spending all His time in nothing but prayer (although prayer was an important part of His ministry). What does it look like to follow Jesus?

It doesn’t look like the trap many of our churches today have fallen into. Or maybe I could say, the nap they’ve fallen into. Our modern churches have turned the Great Commission into “Go, and make people who will fill the church on Sunday morning.” And once in the church, they’ll sit in the cushioned seats with their hot coffee from the coffee bar in the lobby, listening to worship music rendered with headliner concert quality thanks to the state-of-the-art technology, and they’ll receive an inoffensive sermon so they’ll feel good about themselves and come back next Sunday. After all, those cushions,  coffee bars, and sound equipment aren’t going to pay for themselves.

And above all else, we mustn’t take a stand against the immorality and wickedness of the popular culture today. Someone might be offended and leave, taking their pocketbooks with them.

It is there in our comfortable church with all the amenities and a clear conscious thanks to a pastor who will soft peddle the truth, that we doze off into a peaceful slumber. We have come to kneel before our Savior, found it to be a comfortable and seemingly safe position, and been lulled into a state of contented semi-consciousness.

Sure, we may pray for the lost, the abused, the starving, and the unborn. We’ll even take up an offering specifically for them once a year or so. But that doesn’t mean we’re awake. We are alert and oriented times zero, no longer able to say as believers who we are, where we are, or what time we are living in.

And while we’re sleeping Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 10:10).

One of the most precious and damaging things he’s stolen from of us is the understanding that we, as Christians, have a role and a responsibility in government.

After all, if he can get us to abdicate our presence in the halls of government, he can have sole influence over the decisions and actions of that government. And he can laugh at the fact he’s convinced us we’re doing the biblical thing by not getting involved.

But let’s be clear, stealing our government isn’t the enemy’s goal. It’s the first step. Next, he’ll destroy our families through policies that support and protect his wicked agenda. And this will make way for his ultimate objective, to kill the church and all of God’s people.

Jesus made it a point to engage with the political rulers of His day—the pharisees. He didn’t shy away from calling their darkness what it was. So do I truly want to be a follower of Jesus? If I’m to call myself a disciple then the answer is obvious.

We are called to tend the garden (see Genesis 2:15), but we put tight fences around what we see as ours to tend–our families, our businesses, our churches. But somehow, our government is off limits. It makes no sense to me, that we accept our God given authority over everything 9see Genesis 1:26) but politics, as if God created governments (see Exodus 18: 13-26) but didn’t plan for us to participate.

Some of us haven’t done the math to realize, if we don’t tend our governments, we soon won’t be allowed to tend our businesses, churches, or families.

Think this is an exaggeration? Consider these examples of how far we’ve already come in giving it all away:

Christian businesses are forced to support and honor beliefs and practices that are counter to the Word of God.

Churches are forced to close and cease doing the very things they exist to do by government agencies and their popular opinion driven policies.

Christ following families are denied the right to raise their children according to biblical values thanks to policies that require schools to hide information about a student’s gender identity or interest in altering it from the parents.

And this is the very tip of the iceberg regarding what is going on in the world around us.

But how much of this has made it into our Sunday morning sermons? Perhaps it’s briefly mentioned. Maybe a prayer will be offered.

Do you attend a church where the pastor would make a phone call to the elected officials for his district to take a stand against unbiblical or anti-Christian policies? This one did.

Do you attend a church that refused to remain closed to the lost in desperate need of a shepherd during the unprecedented chaos of the past few years? This one did.

Do you attend a church that boldly engages in the ecclesia (the public forum) on behalf of the truth as stated by Scripture? This one does.

One of the things I heard often during the height of the pandemic and coinciding political turmoil was how much we need a revival. I won’t argue against that. There has never been a point in history where a good old fashioned come-to-Jesus revival wasn’t needed.

But do we need a revival as much as we needed the sleeping Christians to wake up?

The unfortunate news is that many are still there. Most churches have been allowed to reopen. For most Americans, life has resumed a semblance of normalcy. Other than the constraints of sky-rocketing prices, we’ve once again been granted freedom to carry on with our lives.

That’s right… the government is allowing us to gather again in fellowship and worship, because we first gave them the authority to take that right from us.

That’s not freedom. That’s permission… like a dog let off his leash in a dog park. We can run around frolicking in what we perceive as freedom… as long as we stay in the boundaries they’ve set and come back to the leash as soon as they call. And make no mistake, they will call.

Just because the evil may not have arrived on our doorstep and wickedness taken over our neighborhood, doesn’t give any of us a pass to continue with the holy head nod of contented slumber.

We will all stand accountable on the day of judgment. And what will we be judged for?

Here’s a painful example. California House Bill 2223, also known as the Infanticide bill. Not only would this bill make full term abortion possible, but it will also give the mother the right to terminate the life of her baby for up to twenty-eight days after its birth. This is the very epitome of wickedness, and you would think that’s about as bad as it could get.

But you’d be wrong.

Wording in this bill also makes it possible for the mother to sue law enforcement officers for their investigation of the death of the baby, and to fine anyone (i.e. person with a conscience) that interferes with the mother’s rights by reporting a possible crime.

But I’m sure you’re all already aware of this because your pastor has been shouting from the pulpit, It’s time do something. Wake up Christians and take action! Make truth known!

Or have you only continued to hear, politics are dirty, stay away?

It’s time to use more than our knees in tending the garden. The battle against evil starts on our knees, but if we were meant to stay there, the armor of God would have only included knee pads. (see Ephesians 6:10)

If we choose to keep slumbering, we’ll one day wake up to the angry mob with their pitchforks and shovels coming to take Jesus from our schools, our businesses, our churches, and our homes. They’ve already succeeded in taking Him out of our government.

So, where is the field where you’ll take a stand, Christian? If not for the life of the unborn, then will you do it for the newborn? How far are you willing to let them go with indoctrinating our children into another kind of death—that of their identity as a son or daughter of God? Or the death of the truth, which is the foundation of goodness and moral integrity upon which civil society must stand?

Or would you rather to continue enjoying the coffee, music, and padded chairs, bowing your head to bury it in the sand so you can’t see the destruction going on all around us.

It’s time to wake the lions and let the sleeping babies be.

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Lori Altebaumer

Lori Altebaumer is a writer who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. With her boots on the ground, head in the clouds, and heart in His hands, she is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart in search of life’s truest adventures. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Her first novel, A Firm Place to Stand, released in January 2020, and was a finalist for both the Selah and the Director’s Choice awards. In addition to writing inspirational novels, Lori creates uplifting, faith-based content for Crossmap, The Word on Wednesday, and other online devotions. She also cohosts the My Mornings with Jesus and Joe podcast with her husband.