“Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light’ ” (Ephesians 5:14).
LIKE THOSE WHO LIE IN BED NOT SUMMONING THE WILL TO ARISE, WE SOMETIMES MAKE OUR LIVES MORE DIFFICULT, AND OURSELVES MORE MISERABLE, BY NOT DECIDING WHAT TO DO ABOUT GOD. Shrinking from the difficulty of this great decision, we plunge ourselves into the much greater difficulty of indecision.
It has been said that we face a basic choice in life: either we accept the pain of discipline right now, or we suffer the pain of regret later on. If we take what seems to be the course of least resistance, ducking our difficult choices when they come up, what we find in the long run is that our lives sink in a swamp of discouragement and deep sadness. Rather than accumulating a treasury of memories that enrich our later years, we find that we’ve built a museum of regrets. We live out our last days plagued with the pain of decisions unmade and duty undone. Contrary to the devil’s lie, there is nothing easy about laziness. It turns out to be the hardest taskmaster of all. The most troubled person in the world is often the one whose highest aim was to avoid trouble.
There is no use denying that life in the real world makes demands of us, some of which are difficult. If we are to make any worthwhile progress, we must deal with our daily decisions straightforwardly. If they seem difficult this morning, they will be more so this afternoon — and by this evening, they may have become practically impossible. Concerning progress, Albert Schweitzer made this observation: “Progress always consists in taking one or another of two alternatives, abandoning the attempt to combine them.” The question of our commitment to God is hardly a trivial matter. To delay dealing with this issue is dangerous, and perhaps even disastrous. Do we not see the dishonor that is done to God by our procrastination? If it turns out that God is God and we are indeed His creatures, we will want to have done more than stagger through life in a stupor. We will want to have lived, and lived decisively.
“I had two wills: one old, one new; one carnal, one spiritual. Their conflict wasted my soul. I was like a sleepy man unable to get up. God convinced me that his words were true, but the only answer I could give was the groggy word: ‘soon’ ” (Augustine of Hippo).