To SLEEP or Not to SLEEP? That’s the Question!


2489146362_6daf5bee61Have you ever taken a “RED-EYE” flight to a destination?  I did once, from Seattle, Washington to Chicago, Illinois; then transferred, after a two-hour layover at O’Hare Airport… to Detroit, Michigan.  All for a job interview in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Other than the flight duration, shaving in an airport public restroom, and putting on a wrinkled tie out of my briefcase, matching my wrinkled suit…I might have been more refreshed and alert if I could only SLEEP on airplanes!  But alas, unlike the gentlemen in the picture to the left, that didn’t happen.

Now the Flight Attendants on the RED-EYE did their best to make me comfortable, I still couldn’t seem to nod off.  Maybe because my mind was so wired, worried about the interview, I couldn’t sleep; or maybe it was FEAR!  FEAR that I would get lost in an unfamiliar airport, miss the connecting flight, etc.  Regardless my reasons, by the time I arrived at the perspective employer’s corporate office, I was definitely not rested or at peace at my destination.

“Sleep” is a Funny Thing–

When you need rest, SLEEP often doesn’t come.  You toss and turn…fidget…you’re in misery because you can’t sleep.

Then…when you need to stay awake, sometimes, SLEEP overtakes you and you can’t help but fall asleep.  Someone once said:  “You can buy sleep (it comes in a pill form), but you can’t buy rest.”

The Bible has a lot to say about “sleep”–

It’s probably because everybody does it!  But there’s GOOD sleep, there is BAD sleep.

Matthew 26:45-46 NASB:

[45]  “Then He came to the disciples, and said to them,  “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  

[46]  “Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

JESUS says 2 things about “sleep”:

26:45 – “Sleep on now.”

26:46 – “Rise, let us be going”…get up out of your sleep!

There’s a time to sleep…AND…there’s a time to wake-up.

The verses in Matthew seem to put “sleep” into two categories:

#1.  “Sleep On.”

SLEEP refreshes us for the events of the next day.  And in the verses in Matthew, Jesus is headed for the cross the next day; He wanted the disciples to stay up and pray with Him.

Every time He went to them, they were asleep and missed out on a wonderful experience of ministry.  Now, JESUS says, “sleep on”…for they will need their rest for the events of the next day.

SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING…there are times when we SHOULD sleep.  

We can see this illustrated in several Bible characters found sleeping.

ADAM – Genesis 2:18-22:

“[21]  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam…”

God caused Adam to SLEEP, yet Adam didn’t sleep because he was tired; he didn’t FAIL God by going asleep (like the Disciples).  God CAUSED him to sleep.

It was GOOD that Adam slept.  WHY?  Because God was going to do SURGERY on Adam.  I would rather be put to SLEEP whenever anybody is going to do surgery on me.

We can apply this to our SPIRITUAL LIVES too!

Some things in our life, God wants to “put to sleep”, so He can do surgery on us–EXAMPLES…


We need to put our WORRY’S to sleep by given them to the Lord; FORGET those things behind, looking in faith to Christ Jesus:

“[13]  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  [14] I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in christ Jesus is calling us upward”  (Philippians 3:13-14 AMP).


We need to bury them deep, so they never surface again.

Holding GRUDGES or ILL-FEELINGS against someone can become like CANCER–it eats us up!  It doesn’t do near the damage to others as it does to us.

We need to bury the past…not dig it up, again, and again.

Philippians 3:13-14 (again):

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.    I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”  (KJV).


2941673519_fd21e82e02We need to put them to sleep… so God can do surgery on us…they’ve been NIGHTMARES for too long…ruling and ruining our lives.

When God put Adam to sleep, he awoke…there was Eve…a help-mate, a companion, a blessing!

Those things that are hindering our SPIRITUAL GROWTH…we need for God to put them to sleep, and do surgery on us.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JESUS – (Matthew 8:23-27)

It is the only time in Scripture we find Him sleeping.  AND…what a time to sleep!

[24]  And suddenly, behold, there arose a violent storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered up by the waves; but He [Jesus] was sleeping.”

Have you ever known someone like this…to sleep no matter what’s going on around them?  BUT…there was a PURPOSE for His sleeping…to test their faith.

What is the PURPOSE of the storms in our life?

I think it is the opportunity for us to cry out to God, like the Disciples cried out to Jesus:  “…Lord, rescue and preserve us!”…and He was ASLEEP!

Remember Psalm 121:4:

“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

But sometimes it seems like God is SLEEPING, doesn’t it?  WHY?  Because of the same reason the Disciples found Jesus SLEEPING…to test their faith.

How did they wake JESUS?  With their prayer:  “Lord, save us!”  These trials and storms that come our way in life can bring us to our knees in prayer.  Sometimes, that’s the only way to get us on our knees…get our attention.

PRAYER will AWAKEN the POWER of God:

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, PRAY, SEEK, CRAVE, and require of necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land”  (2 Chronicles 7:14).

So…JESUS says, “Sleep on!”

There are good things about “sleep”.  BUT…there are some things that AREN’T so good.

Spiritually speaking, Jesus also said:  “Arise out of your sleep.”

1 Thessalonians 5:6:

“…let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect”  (AMP).

#2.  “RISE ( ‘get up’ – AMP), LET US BE GOING” —

I found several people in the Bible who could apply the words of JESUS to  “Get up and let’s get going.”

When I think of “sleep”, I think of:

SAMSON – Judges 16:18-19 – Lulled to sleep by Delilah.

Satan loves to do that to us.  THEN…when he gets us to sleep, he starts with the scissors…taking away our strength and our usefulness (16:20-21).

Satan knew Samson’s weakness…WOMEN!  Satan knows OUR weaknesses too.  Maybe it’s love of money…the lust of the flesh…pride…the love of pleasure…I could go on and on.  You know what YOURS is…I know what MINE is.

Satan will lull you to sleep…THEN…get out the scissors…steal your JOY and USEFULNESS.  JESUS says: “Arise out of thy sleep”.

When I think of “sleep”, I think of…

JONAH – Jonah 1:4-5 – Slept in total indifference of the WILL of God and the CALL of God.

JONAH didn’t care about the lost of his generation like God did.  Jonah said:  “Let them ALL go to HELL…I don’t care.”  THEN…he went to SLEEP.

How many of us have done the same thing?  SATISFIED with our own salvation…we’re going to Heaven, and that’s all that matters.  If others don’t want to go there, that’s their tough luck!

What have we done?  We become like Jonah.  It’s time we woke out of our SLEEP.  JESUS said, “Get up, let us be going.”

TEN VIRGINS – (Matthew 25:1-5 AMP).

 Most of us are familiar with the parable Jesus gives regarding the kingdom of Heaven.  I did a study sometime go on the TEN VIRGINS and POSTED with the title, “Shout!  It’s Midnight And The Bridegroom is Here!” if interested.

[1] THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to TEN VIRGINS who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  [2] Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent).  [3] For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them;  [4] But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps.  [5] While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they ALL began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep.

The ladies weren’t living in light of the Lord’s soon return and were caught SLEEPING!  So whose attention was Jesus trying to reach in the parable?  I believe a “hint” is given in Matthew 24:51:  “…the pretenders…”

FIVE of them were caught UN-PREPARED…no oil…

FIVE of them were PREPARED…oil in their lamps.

BUT…ALL TEN were caught “sleeping”.

What is the LESSON here for us?

We don’t know WHEN Jesus is coming back so, we better not be caught “sleeping”.


JESUS gives this warning in Mark 13:35-36:

“Therefore watch–give strict attention, be cautious and alert–for you do not know when the Master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning.    [Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep”  (Amplified Version).

Don’t be so sound ASLEEP, spiritually speaking, that you aren’t ready for the Lord’s coming.  Don’t be caught with EMPTY lamps; UNPREPARED.

Some THINGS need to be “put to sleep”-

…some sin…

…some habit…

…some worries…

…some grudges…

…some ill-feelings…

Maybe we need some trials in our life to see that JESUS isn’t “sleeping”…BUT…He cares about you…and is always there for you.  Maybe we need to see that Satan is trying to lull you to sleep…to steal your joy…our effectiveness as a Christian.  Remember that the five foolish virgins never ran out of oil, they never had it to begin with.

There are some things in our lives that we need to PUT TO SLEEP and other things that we need to WAKE-UP about.  Let’s agree with one another that the Holy Spirit [represented by the “oil”] be our teacher.



2 thoughts on “To SLEEP or Not to SLEEP? That’s the Question!

  1. Mel, I never put all these great examples together to come up with these lessons on sleep. I was reading so eagerly to see which one you would come up with next. The Samson one really caught me off guard – so true – how he was lulled to sleep so the evil one could do his work. We must be vigilant. And then to think of Jesus sleeping during the storm – what a great picture of peace and lack of worry He shows us. Thanks for this. Blessings, Amy


    1. There are a lot more examples but…I didn’t want to do another two part blog! The Bibles examples should and do bring us to alertness, no doubt. Thanks for commenting as usual. I appreciate you!!



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