Why burning the candle at both ends is sin

Has it ever struck you that trying to avoid sleep so we can accomplish more is as sinful as it is foolish. For sure we can do it for a short time, and there may be times when it is right to do just that. But for many burned out executives, sleep is something to be rationed so they can be more productive.  Actually, as John Piper tells us, God has designed our bodies so we simply cannot play that game without big cost. He has done this for a reason:

Psalm 127:2 says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved in his sleep” (author’s translation). According to this text, sleep is a gift of love, but the gift is often spurned by anxious toil. Peaceful sleep is the opposite of anxiety. God does not want his children to be anxious, but to trust him. Therefore I conclude that God made sleep as a continual reminder that we should not be anxious but should rest in him.

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. “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man; but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 147:10–11, rsv).

–John Piper, Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers, 2005), 335-36.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he seves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso.

Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway.

Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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