Have you ever had someone call you very late at night or very early in the morning? The voice on the other end asks, "Did I wake you?"
And what do we usually say? Most of the time we say no. For some reason, we always want to deny the fact that we're sleeping.
Writing about the imminent return of Christ, the apostle Paul said, "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:11–12).
The J. B. Phillips paraphrase states it this way: "Why all this stress on behaviour? Because, as I think you have realised, the present time is of the highest importance—it is time to wake up to reality. Every day brings God's salvation nearer."
Paul wasn't addressing his words to nonbelievers. He was writing to Christians. He was addressing his remarks to genuine believers whose spiritual lethargy and laziness made them appear and act as though they had no spiritual life.
Maybe his words have more relevance for people who have been walking with the Lord for a while. When you're a new Christian, you're full of energy, not unlike a young person. You want to go out and do things for God.
But when you get older, you want to take a nap. And I think sometimes that believers who have known the Lord for a while may be in more danger of falling asleep than those who are young in the faith.
Believers need to wake up. The coming of the Lord is near.