Don’t Hit the Spiritual Snooze Button
This coming Sunday, March 12, is Daylight Savings Time, and no, it’s not the good one in the fall where we gain an extra hour of sleep. It’s time to spring forward—something we will enjoy in a few weeks when the sunlight lasts long into the summer evenings, but something we sort of hate the first few weeks we do it.
The guy who decided the clock should roll back on Saturday after midnight must have been mad at his pastor because pastors and parishioners have been fighting the Sunday morning sleepies ever since! We lose an hour of sleep if we don’t go to bed early, and we are late to places like church on Sunday morning if we forget to set our clocks. It’s a lose-lose situation.
In my house, we love our sleep, and consequently, we love our snooze buttons. In the pre-children days, the alarm would sometimes go off several times between snooze button slaps before one of us got out of bed.
A snooze button is a great way to get a little more rest or to fight off the impending start of the day, but it is also a good way to fall behind or to miss opportunities altogether.
Sometimes people hit the spiritual snooze button. They hear God calling them unto salvation, service, and commitment. They recognize that if they are obedient to God and follow Christ, they will have to make sacrifices. They may have to abandon a treasured sin. They may have to give up their selfish way of life. Knowing this, they hit the spiritual snooze button by delaying obedience.
For some people, it’s simply easier to ignore God’s call. That’s why some people can hide from God by rejecting the gospel. I’ve had people tell me, “I have wild oats to sow, and will follow God later.” Others have said, “I can’t get too serious about my faith too quickly.”
Several people who encountered Jesus in the gospels hit the spiritual snooze button. Some whom Jesus asked to follow him responded, “[I will but] first let me . . .” Sometimes it was “first let me” go spend the remaining time I have left with a family member (Luke 9:60). Sometimes it was “first let me go and say goodbyes” (Luke 9:61).
Jesus wasn’t satisfied with people hitting the spiritual snooze button because he knew that it mean they did not prioritize his call in their lives. The call Jesus prioritized is that we would live our lives in complete surrender to the kingdom or rule of God.
For many who hit the spiritual snooze button, there will never be a chance to respond to God again. Take for example Aaron Burr, the third vice-president of the United States. Though he served under Thomas Jefferson, he was most famous for his illegal duel with Alexander Hamilton, who died in the gunfight. (Yes, before there was a song about this duel in a Broadway musical, this event really happened in history!)
The great tragedy of Burr’s life was the way he ignored God’s call to salvation in his life. He was the maternal grandson of Jonathan Edwards, the most famous preacher in American history. He was raised in a godly home but came to despise his Christian upbringing. He repeatedly ignored his grandfather’s pleas to place his faith in Christ.
Burr fell under great conviction for his sin, feeling God’s tugging at his heart to repent and confess Christ. Rather than surrendering his life to Christ, he asked God to take the conviction away. As he once told friends and family, “Sixty years ago, I told God that if He would let me alone, I would let Him alone and God has not bothered me since.”
Burr ignored God’s call on his life, and though he experienced a few years of political success, lived out the rest of his days in controversy, shame, and isolation. More importantly, he may have missed his only chance for forgiveness.
The eighteenth century hymnist, Joseph Hart, penned these words in his hymn, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”:
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power. . . .
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
If we wait until we’re better, we will never come to Christ at all. These are powerful words because they are a reminder that we can’t make our lives better on our own. We are fully dependent upon the grace of God. What Christ alone can give us.
I have personally shared my faith with some individuals who died unexpectedly shortly thereafter, who, to my knowledge, never trusted Christ with their lives and faced a christless eternity in hell. We are not promised tomorrow, and we should not put off the life with Christ we can have today.
Today if you hear the Spirit of God working on your heart, making you aware of your sin and your great need for Christ, please do not delay responding. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 4:7).
Hitting the spiritual snooze button may not only cause you to be late to God’s plan for your life. It may cause you to miss it altogether.