This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” -Ephesians 5:14 (NIV)
Somnambulists are people who walk in their sleep: they’re not aware of it in the waking world, and in their dreams, they’re doing and going to wherever the dream takes them.
I was a spiritual somnambulist for the first 40 years of my life. I thought I was living and working, but even through those years, I was never spiritually satisfied. I was hungry, sad, and lost, and didn’t know why. I just knew something was missing. It was a 40-year dream, with ups and downs, with an undercurrent of emptiness and depression.
And I wasn’t just sleepwalking, but I was truly a dead man walking, because I was sleepwalking a sinful, fallen path to death, because I didn’t have God in my life.
The context for today’s quote is Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus:
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. -Ephesians 5:14-17 (NIV)
God woke me with His searing light of truth, not just burning away the veil over my eyes to see the real world, but also continues to burn away the illusions and misperceptions and distortions I’ve been walking through. When His rays of truth shine on our lives, things never look the same. When we see things for what they are, we have a serious choice to make: walk with God through this difficult truth, and be stronger and more Christlike after it, or turn from the truth and walk in sin and denial.
I choose to walk with God. The harder walk can come with serious repercussions in the world, where the ones closest to you may turn on you. But rest assured that when you follow and serve God, He is the only one to whom you must answer and will never be wrong about following. And when you choose God, you have His support and grace and blessings through your journey.
I testify that this leg of my journey as a baby believer is very hard. My heart and flesh fail me, because this leg is very painful, with seemingly no outcome but suffering and despair. But I know, fellow true believer, that with the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, I’m told I shall fear not, for God is with me…and that great blessings and fruit will be borne from the seeds planted today. I feel myself getting stronger by the day, with each step taken by faith, not sight. He is truly doing a work in me.
If you are on a seemingly impossible leg of your journey, where the drudgery of your circumstances tell you nothing will ever change or improve, do not fear, despair, or be discouraged. Walk with God, no matter what your heart and flesh think the outcome is doomed to be. God will do wondrous things in your life. This is the microcosm of our larger walk as believers on this earth: the best is yet to come!