". . . and how that lion got into my pajamas, I'll never know!" Sorry, couldn't resist the old joke.
I have a confession to make: I’m really a night owl. If I had my “druthers,” I’d stay up until 2AM or so, sleep until noon, then go about my day. Of course, my boss has something to say about that, and having a job means you don’t do whatever you feel like doing. So I get up at 5:30 so I can be at work by 7:30.
But when it comes to our spiritual lives, we all tend to be “night owls.” That seems to be our default setting. In our regular lives, we might get up at the crack of “oh-dark thirty” (as we used to call it in my Army days), but in our spiritual lives we’re acting like it’s time to drift into dreamland.
When I read today’s passage, a word keeps coming to my mind: Incongruity. Imagine that you have an appointment with someone, and you’re supposed to come by their house to pick them up for a very important meeting. The meeting is at 10 A.M. and is about 30 minutes away from your friend’s house. You show up at 9:20 to give yourself a little extra drive-time if needed. You knock on his door, and nobody responds. You knock again, nothing but silence. You pound on his door, and finally you hear shuffling to the door and someone muttering “All right already, I’m coming, hold your horses!!!’ Your friend opens the door, and he’s. . . in his pajamas. What would your reaction be?
That’s Paul’s reaction. He’s saying it’s high past time I stopped living like a night owl and started living like it’s time to get up. The pajamas are inappropriate for what time it is.
By the way, when he says our “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed,” he’s not talking your personal salvation, your conversion from being a nonbeliever to a believer. He’s not referring to your salvation from the penalty of sin; he’s referring to our future salvation from the presence of sin. Each ticking of the clock brings us one tick closer to the time of our “blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
So what are we supposed to do?
We’re supposed to. . .
· Put aside the “deeds of darkness.”
· Put on the “armor of light.” What’s he referring to? Well, a good guess is that he’s talking about the “full armor of God.”
· Behave decently, as in the daytime.
· Don’t indulge in “carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”
· “Clothe yourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, this is not talking about personal salvation (such as in Galatians). This is talking about putting on “Christ” like you put on your daytime clothes. MacArthur: “This phrase summarizes sanctification, the continuing spiritual process in which those who have been saved by faith are transformed into His image and likeness.”
· Finally, “do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Please forgive me for reusing one of my favorite analogies, but I need to treat sin as a deadly stalker, not like a sexy ex-girlfriend I keep on my contacts list just in case I’m bored and decide to give her a call.
This is all talking about personal behavior. The world is acting like it’s Spring Break at midnight at Daytona Beach or some other party spot. But if you’re a believer, you know better. You know that the night is nearly over, and the Dawn is coming. That’s when all the misdeeds of the night before come to light, literally. And you need to start acting like it. Take off the pajamas, put on your Daytime clothes, and keep looking for the glimmer of the sun breaking over the ridge. It’s a lot closer than you think.
Lord Jesus, it’s so easy to drift into spiritual slumber, but that’s no excuse. I know better. Please, by your Spirit, using any means necessary, wake me up. Get me out of my pajamas. Get me onto the battlefield where I’m supposed to be.