When I was young and somewhat uninformed about the nature of spiritual life, I thought there was a great moral divide between people of faith and those who had abandoned biblical truth. What I did not know at that time was that spiritual slumber among believers was more prevalent than I had imagined. It comes upon people who slowly over time have allowed the truth to be compromised setting in motion a spiritual state of slumber. They begin to walk through life asleep to the realities they have embraced.
A popular word in our culture is “woke.” Woke infers an awakened sense of moral sensitivity and superiority. While I do think we need to be awake to the pain and suffering of others and take every step we can to stop such things from happening, what woke has come to mean is to be awakened to an ideology of compliance with a packaged agenda, much of which has abandoned biblical truth.
Paul opened chapter 5 of Ephesians addressing living in the light of God’s truth and morals. He warned the Ephesians to not be fooled by those who try to excuse the long list of sins he mentioned. Paul went on to instruct us to live in the light and allow truth to keep us awake, or in some cases awaken us. “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).
The word for “awake” Paul used means “to collect one’s faculties.” It infers something has been dismantled and scattered. Another translation for the word is an image of rousing or shoving someone awake.
To be awakened means to step back into the light to awaken from a moral slumber and reactivate a spiritual life devoted to God. To be awakened by God is vastly different than becoming woke. To be awakened spiritually is to form our lives around God’s unchanging Word and the leading of the Spirit no matter how contrary that formation might appear. To be woke is to allow the culture, compromised biblical truth, and other influences to induce a state of spiritual slumber and lead us to places of delusion and deception.
Part of The Great Awakening many are anticipating will be the awakening of those within the Church who were lured into slumber and spiritual sleepwalking by their compromise of truth. When awakened, do not address them as enemies of the faith, but as brothers and sisters who have awakened from a false woke-ness to return home to live safely within the brilliant light of truth. We need to hear their voices because they will be able to passionately warn others about the cost of compromise. We also need them to help us see the early warning signs in our lives that are indicators that we could fall victim to the same fate if we don’t continue to live in the light of God’s truth.
“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).