August 16, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Drunk and Asleep Today
“For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.”
1 Thessalonians 5:7
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At the beach, I talk with men who have been drinking too much for many years. Several of my friends love to drink any kind of beer they can get their hands on, and others prefer stronger drinks, like vodka or whisky. They often like to drink for hours at a time, but they are homeless, or nearly homeless. Others of my friends hold down normal jobs, but they drink at night. They come home from work, and look forward to drinking enough so that they can “unwind” or “go to sleep.” They rely upon getting enough alcohol into their system at night so that they can relax. I notice one thing about some of my friends who drink too much: they often look forward to drinking more on the weekends, especially at night. Friday night means drinking and then sleeping it off.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:7, Paul draws attention to the people who sleep and get drunk at night. Please recall that Paul has already made the point in this passage that the children of God by faith in Christ are all children of the light, and children of the day. The opposite of being alert and sober is to be asleep and drunk. When you read the word “For” starting a sentence in Pauline literature, you may often expect that Paul is linking together two verses, and often expanding upon the previous verse. Paul follows that pattern here. Paul expands upon the “others” mentioned in verse 6, and explains that the others sleep and get drunk. We know that believers must be alert and sober, expecting the day of the Lord and the return of Christ to the clouds.
Let me highlight three characteristics of the “others” that every believer must avoid. First, every believer must avoid being spiritually asleep, especially at night. Because we are children of light and children of day, the night should never overtake us so that we are asleep spiritually, and not actively waiting for Christ. Second, every believer must avoid being drunk, especially at night. Being drunk means that you have lost control of yourself, and alcohol now controls you. God’s children, as children of the day, must never allow themselves to put anyone in control of their lives, except God. At night, people tend to get drunk more, and think because the sun has passed over the yardarm, then it is o.k. to get drunk. Yet, we know as believers that getting drunk at night only leads to being unprepared to meet Jesus. Third, every believer must avoid a “night” lifestyle. We are not children of the night, but God has delivered us into the kingdom of light. By nature, we have become in Christ children of light. We live the life of Christ, and He was never asleep when it counted, and never drunk in His entire life. Please keep in mind that Paul primarily has in mind the contrast between spiritually prepared to meet Christ right now, and others who are not prepared to meet Christ at any time. He uses the symbolism of drinking and sleeping and night to contrast the spiritual states of being alert, sober and light.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we avoid sleeping and getting drunk at night.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we wake up our friends, and remind them to avoid getting drunk, because we are children of the light, and Christ commands us to be alert and sober.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we let our friends act like children of the night. They no longer care about the coming of Jesus, and we no longer care about them.
Application for Today
Today, I want to be avoid being asleep or drunk at night. Are you living a “night” lifestyle today?