A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation determined that 60% of adult drivers say that they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy and 37% say that they have actually fallen asleep while at the wheel. 4% admitted that they had an accident or a near accident because they dozed off or were just too tired to drive. If these statistics are accurate, this is not an insignificant issue, and more than likely has or will personally impact each of us in one way or another. The causes for drowsiness caused by inadequate sleep range from a diagnosed physical condition (narcolepsy), to just making poor choices related to sleeping. Treatments for sleep deprivation include medication, therapy and lifestyle change. Because every individual is different, the solutions for drowsiness while driving are varied, but given the per cent of drivers who regularly drive without being fully alert it is certainly an issue we all need to be aware of.
May I suggest that as Christians we sometimes fall asleep at the wheel and need a spiritual wakeup call to get us up and running again. In the Bible, God provides just such a call in Romans 13:11-12. “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” As Christian’s, our job is to glorify God and witness to the world through our right, loving, and joyful living. It is best accomplished while wearing the armor of Christ. In fact, our mission is simply impossible without His protective armor. I believe that according to God’s clock, it is time for us to wake up. Right now we have unlimited opportunities to teach our children the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but this might not always be the case. While we are busy with the responsibilities of our lives and the repetition of our daily routines, the days and hours that we have to minister to our children continues to pass by. James 4:14 says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog, it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” The truth is we don’t know how much time we have to influence the lives of our children.
When our children wake up each school day, one of the first things they must do is to get dressed. The apostle Paul explains how we should get dressed spiritually in Romans 13:13-14. “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Paul is saying, “Don’t waste your time on these things by even thinking about them.” Instead of wasting our time thinking of sinful things, fantasizing about sin, and imagining ways to justify our behavior, we should just live the right way. He also is warning us of the fact that thinking often leads to acting. When we imagine things long enough we wear down our resistance and find ourselves doing things that thought we could never do. Paul tells us to keep a strong watch over our minds. We must teach our children to decide right now in their lives, that they are going to say “No” to sin. We need to teach them that they can’t negotiate with temptation, and as a Christian they have an obligation to themselves, and to the Lord, to guard their thinking. We need to remove as many things in their lives, and ours as well, that will cause them to think in the wrong way. We need to be careful where they go on the Internet, what they watch on TV, what movies we let them attend, what people they hang around with and what activities they participate in. If we are to help dress them up spiritually we must teach them not to indulge the sinful nature that will lead to a wreck in their life.
Being aware that we need to be just as vigilant in keeping our children spiritually awake as we do physically, is a primary responsibility for us as parents and teachers. If we are not already, we must get them out of bed and get them into the game of life. We can’t be observers we must be participants in the building of lives for the glory of God. So where are we in terms of our Christian life? Are we still in bed or are you on our feet and engaged in the battle? Are we still in our pajamas, or are we dressed and ready for action? Are we critics or are we “players”? Are we still living like we are in the darkness or are we willing to live in the light?
John MacArthur said it this way, “We must wake up. The down-grade is a dangerous place to be. We cannot afford to be indifferent. We cannot continue our mad pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. We are called to fight a spiritual battle, and we cannot win by appeasing the enemy. A weak church must be made strong, and a needy world must be confronted with the message of salvation, and there may be little time left.” This is our challenge. This is our privilege. This is our calling as parents and as teachers in a Christian school.
As parents and Christian educators it is our responsibility to train our children to develop good lifestyle choices, like proper sleep habits that will become a part of their lifestyle and help lead them to good physical health. It is also our responsibility, and even more important, that we introduce them to Jesus Christ as the one who offers them salvation and will keep them awake to the challenges of a world that wants to destroy them while they are asleep at the wheel of their lives.