Friday, February 16, 2018

The Sinful Snooze Button Mortified: The Sheet on Sleep

The Bible says: "As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed" (Proverbs 26:14). The large majority of the time, hitting the snooze button is a lack of temperance rather than something Biblically justifiable that can be done for the glory of God. Furthermore, just as hitting the snooze button is bad for your soul, taking time away that you could spend with God and giving in to the flesh, so hitting the snooze button is actually not good for your body, either.

If you hit the snooze button two times a day, and snooze for ten minutes each time, you will lose 7,300 minutes a year that you could have spent seeking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do you really think this is the most God-glorifying way to use the short time you have to live? Should you change the time that you rationally determined you needed to get up the night before to do what your flesh says in the morning instead?

By the way, in addition to the Sheet on Sleep below, one would do very well to avoid entering into temptation and setting oneself up for failure through things like being able to turn off the alarm clock without getting out of bed, having no backup alarm, etc. (A loud alarm is the Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock, which we use as a backup--the normal clock radio has nice Christian music to wake up to, but woe to the person who is still in bed a very small number of minutes later and hears the Sonic Bomb go off.)  Parents should also train their children not to turn like the slothful man upon his bed by enforcing a no-snooze button policy, giving their children more time to spend with God, possibly saving them from losing future employment by being late to work, and by, overall, delivering them from this bad habit by not allowing it to begin early in life. Of course, going to bed early enough to get well rested also helps.  God "giveth his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2), but it is planned sleep, not sleep determined by the flesh's desires gaining the mastery.

Something we have in our family is the "Sheet on Sleep" below.  It is a way to determine if going back to bed is indeed giving in to the flesh (which it is the vast majority of the time) or is something that can be done to the glory of God (which is possible in those rare situations where one, say, accidentally confused "AM" and "PM" on the clock or had some other clearly justifiable reason to reset the alarm.)  Before a person can get back in bed after his alarm goes off, he must read the "Sheet on Sleep" below out loud and do what it says.  The "Sheet on Sleep" has proven to be effective in mortifying the sin of the snooze button.  I reproduce it below.  Feel free to use it in your family and in your own personal life if you can do so for the glory of Jehovah.  The Sheet fits on two sides of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

Sheet on Sleep

These verses are to be read out loud, in a normal tone of voice, at a normal speed or slower, standing up, letting my heart be affected by the Word and by that dear Savior and Master who speaks therein.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34)

“O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. 2 Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. 3 I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. 4 For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 108:1-4)

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. . . . Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” (Matthew 26:36-46, 56)

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:14-21)

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6   Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song 2:10)

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” (Psalm 63:1-5)

“The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. 8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:7-9)

Now sing the morning song [we sing a psalm or hymn every morning], then plan specifically how everything that needs to get done will get done if I go back to sleep, and finally pray, standing up or walking around, for at least five minutes, moving my lips and with my eyes open, asking God if it is His will for me to go back to bed, or if I should stay awake.  If I am certain, with no doubt, but in faith, (since “he that doubteth is damned [if he act] . . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” Romans 14:23), that I should go back to sleep, then set the alarm and do so.


Kent Brandenburg said...

I don't think we determine right or wrong by whether we feel guilty or not, but I want to add to what Thomas said. I haven't ever felt guilty about too much sleep. I measure by productiveness and I'm not as productive when I'm sleepy. I've seen many people who are very disciplined about not sleeping much, fall asleep in more than half of the church services. I wish they would get more sleep, because sleeping in church doesn't count. I can't work well when I can't stay awake or I'm blurry eyed.

The nature of my work means I have to get up every morning and I can't sleep in. Some Saturday mornings I try to sleep in. I want to sleep in. Some of you older folk know that as you get to be about my age, 55, you can't sleep anymore as well anyway. You wish you could sleep better. Your body doesn't allow it, because of a lack of circulation and flexibility.

This doesn't take away from what Thomas wrote. You've got lazy people who lay around and don't get much accomplished. For myself, if I could do something different, it would be to sleep more. I don't feel guilty about sleeping so little, but I wish I could sleep more.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Thanks for the comment. I agree with you 100% that some people need to get more sleep, and, especially when people get older, sometimes it is a challenge sleeping enough.

As I'm sure you agree, there is a big difference between someone planning his sleep and refusing to plan enough in to have his body recover, another person who has trouble sleeping because of his age, and a third person who gives in to the flesh and hits the snooze button and wastes time better used awake.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I wanted to throw in the balance, because there are those out there that could read this, and turn it the other way, that is, sleeping so little that they run themselves into the ground. Some of them are not relying on the grace of God. It might relate to a particular view of sanctification, a subject that is right in your wheelhouse. For them most part though, as it relates to the things of the Lord, people are lazy. They will work hard for what isn't important and not work hard for what is.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Yes, I agree; while it is less common than being lazy, people can be bad stewards of their lives by not sleeping enough. For example, "At Oxford University, which he entered in 1628 at twelve years of age, John [Owen] pored over books so much that he undermined his health by sleeping only four hours a night. In old age he deeply regretted this misuse of his body, and said he would give up all the additional learning it brought him if only he might have his health back." (

That is not usually most people's problem, but it is for some--and, as the link I provided in the post demonstrates, hitting the snooze does not even give one good sleep anyway.

Anonymous said...

Brother Ross,
I found this post very interesting and helpful. I can relate to what Pastor Bradenburg commented about those who seem to be disciplined about not sleeping much. I have seen professing Christians brag about how many hours they work and how little sleep they need, but then come to church services, and like Pastor Bradenburg said, fall asleep during the services. I don’t see that as a laughable matter like others do when they see those people sleeping during the services, but on the contrary, I think it is one of the most disrespectful things a professing Christian can do in the house of God.

Everyone’s body constitution is different, so there cannot be a rule laid down about how much sleep people should get, and how much would characterize a person as being lazy, and refusing to get out of bed. For example: I have noticed in the eleven years that I have been married to my wife that our bodily constitutions are much different pertaining to this area of sleep. She requires much more than I do, and by saying that I am not saying that she is lazy, because she is far from that. She just needs to get a certain amount of hours sleep in order to be alert and effective in her daily responsibilities. I on the other hand have found that I can be just as effective in whatever I am doing in a particular day with less sleep than her. Again, that does not necessarily make me more spiritual than her for sleeping less, in this case, it just is a matter of how our bodies are constituted differently. Some would say that being a man contributes to me requiring less sleep than her, but I don’t believe that is always true between males and females.

From my perspective, as a Christian man, I see this matter of sleep having to do with self-discipline more than anything else. When I was younger, I could stay up as late as I wanted, and still be able to get up early in the morning without it having much effect on me at all. But now, as a forty-three year old man, I know that I cannot physically do that anymore. The temptation to stay up later is still a temptation to me, because I developed a pattern of it early on. I don’t stay up late now watching TV, or wasting hours in other forms of entertainment, but I do find myself often listening to sermons online for longer periods of time than I should, or even reading good books. Those are obviously not bad things, but they become traps of the devil when they keep me from retiring to sleep at a certain hour so that I can awake early enough to have personal quiet time with the Lord.

I believe the verses that you cited Brother Ross about the prayer life of Christ prove that he was a self-disciplined man in this matter of sleep. For him to get up very early in the morning (Mark 1:35) in order to have that private personal communion with the Father required that he be disciplined about going to sleep at a certain hour the night before. Then again, for him to have an all-night time of prayer with the Father (Luke 6:12) I am sure resulted in him feeling tired afterwards, perhaps even “sleeping in” longer during the morning. So we see the discipline and balance relating to sleep even in the life of our Saviour, I believe.

Finally, I believe that the Lord will reward the Christian man/woman who is self-disciplined in this area of sleep. I believe that the Lord will bless us with more energy and alertness if we put time alone with him as being more important than even something like sleep. Is quality sleep important? Absolutely yes, but just like everything else in our lives as believers, our sleep needs to be done “to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

Thanks again for this post. I was both challenged and edified by it.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Jason,

Thanks, I'm glad it was a blessing.