Perhaps the most famous Presidential speech in American history begins like this:
“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the speech to the nation and the congress on December 8, 1941—a day after the horrendous attacks on Pearl Harbor. On December 7th, Japan also attacked Malaya, Hong Kong, Guam, Philippine Islands, and Wake Island. The Empire of Japan had deceived America by putting up a “peace talks” front, then launched the largest surprise attack in human history all but completely decimating the US Naval Fleet at home and abroad. This ended America’s isolationist policy and plunged our country into World War II.
After the attack had been carried out and Japan was celebrating, Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese Admiral penned this in his personal journal:
“I fear all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.”
Quite different than what you would expect to hear from the overseer of the largest secret attack in history, right? Fortunately for the US, Admiral Yamamoto was right. America pulled together and completely industrialized the country, put all it’s people an efforts into the war, and in 1945 the Allies won victory at the defeat of Germany, Italy, and the Empire of Japan. The “sleeping giant” had been awoken, and the rest, is as we say, history.
Great history article right? You are probably thinking, “What in the world does this have to do with Jesus, the Bible, or anything spiritual?” Personally, I think it has a lot to do with the church today. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this, but I feel like the body of Christ is asleep. Asleep from what? Asleep from what’s really going on. We have been lulled into a deep, dark sleep by Satan and have lost our focus on Jesus. Satan has pulled his own sneak attack on us, by getting us so wrapped up in ourselves that we have “forgotten the love we had at first” (Rev. 2:4). However, this sneak attack didn’t use bullets and bombs, but lies and apathy.
To the church in Ephesus, Paul writes this:
“…Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14).
This is an interesting phrase in the Greek, literally saying wake from your deep slumber! Get up, because you’re dead! Shake off the grogginess to see the real picture, and let the Son of God, Jesus Christ shine His light on your heart! How amazing, church! Just thirty years after Christ died, the church had already fallen asleep!
So do you view yourself as “asleep?” Do you feel like you haven’t been connecting with God and the congregation lately? Do you feel tired, burnt-out, or apathetic? I must confess that I do. I feel like a spiritual zombie, and ill-equipped to deal with the mission Christ has given me. But there’s hope! We can be “shocked” out of this sleep and deadness.
If we make it our heart’s cry to ask God to wake us up—let us pray that God will awaken His sleeping giant—the Church! We are an army, after all. But for too long we’ve become inward focused and more concerned about what happens within the walls of a building for a couple hours a week than reaching out and getting our hands dirty with the people Jesus died to save! God help us and have mercy on us for thinking it’s all about us—for thinking it’s all about our “comfort.” When we make it all about us than we make it nothing at all. God is glorified by us “being about our Father’s work” (Luke 2:49). What’s the Father’s work? To seek and save that which is lost! Its high time we wake up, shake off the grave clothes, stand up and fight for God. He has saved us, not to make us good and moral people, but to bring us corpses back to life. Think about it.