Weekly Devotional | "Sleep"

This devotional is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, Sleep, given on August 14, 2016.

 

Day 1: Sleep is a daily gift from God

Quotes:

  • “If one isn’t serving the Lord’s purpose and depending on his provision and trusting in his protection, then all one’s efforts are vain. All one’s efforts are ultimately worthless.” C.J. Mahaney
  • “A Christian is to receive sleep each night as a distinct gift from God and a Christian is able to sleep well at night because he or she is trusting in God and entrusting their work to God for him to watch and build while they receive the gift of sleep he has kindly provided for them.” C.J. Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • Have you given into the flawed reasoning that we can find rest and security in working harder, longer, and smarter? How does this compare with the exhortation given in James 4:13-16?
  • How do you recognize yourself in these verses? When you try to get your security outside of God, where do you tend to look?
  • This passage should not be interpreted as condemning hard work. However, it does draw a distinction between “hard work” and what Solomon calls “anxious toil”. What’s the difference?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read and pray through Psalm 68:19. Confess to God your tendency to try to find security for your life apart from him. Ask him to make you more trusting of his great power and love, which daily bears us up.

 

Day 2: Sleep is a daily reminder from God

Quotes:

  • “Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. ‘He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalm 121:4). But we will. For we are not God. Once a day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease, God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day. How humiliating to the self-made corporate executive that he has to give up all control and become as limp as a suckling infant every day. Sleep is a parable that God is God and we are mere men. God handles the world quite nicely while a hemisphere sleeps. Sleep is like a broken record that comes around with the same message every day: Man is not sovereign…Man is not sovereign…Man is not sovereign. Don’t let the lesson be lost on you. God wants to be trusted as the great worker who never tires and never sleeps. He is not nearly so impressed with our late nights and early mornings as he is with the peaceful trust that casts all anxieties on him and sleeps.” John Piper

Questions and Reflections:

  • What is one habit you could begin to cultivate this week to avoid simply falling into bed without intentionally enjoying its lesson? Is there a Scripture (perhaps these verses) that you could memorize and recite? Could you regularly thank God in prayer before getting into bed?
  • The idea of being completely vulnerable and helpless for 8 hours every day seems scary. Explain how sleep’s continual reminder that “Man is not sovereign” can be a means of deep comfort and joy.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Psalm 3:5 reminds us it is the Lord who sustains us as we sleep. Praise God for his intimate, tender, and faithful care over you each night. Ask him to draw your mind toward thoughts of his faithfulness each night, so you may better appreciate and enjoy this blessed gift.

 

Day 3: Sleep is a daily picture of a future spiritual reality

Quotes:

  • “For the Christian, sleep is a perfect analogy for death because sleep is not the end for the Christian. Sleep is a means of anticipating future glory.” C.J. Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • How is sleep a genuine act of faith? How does it reflect the heart of the Christian?
  • Why is the cross of Christ the most important reason Christians can, and should, richly enjoy the gift of sleep.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read Revelation 22:4. Meditate on the rich hope that every believer can enjoy…the hope of seeing Jesus face to face after death! Thank God for this incomparable blessing that awaits you, and ask him to bring it to your mind this week as you lay down to sleep.

 

Group Discussion Questions

  1. Where have you seen God’s extraordinary work in your “ordinary” life this past week?
  2. Are there tiring efforts you have made recently at work or home out of a desire to honor God? Are there other efforts you need to repent of because they are anxious toil?
  3. How have you approached sleep differently after listening to this sermon?
  4. C.J. explained how sleep is a parable filled with hope for the Christian. With this parable in mind, how might you respond to a tired coworker that says, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”?