There’s no single thing that makes me as sleepy as reading my Bible. There are times where I sit down and begin to read and I can’t even keep my head up, much less comprehend what I’m reading. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens often enough.
There’s kind of standing joke in our household that when I go upstairs to my office with my Bible that my wife and daughters ask if I’m going upstairs to “pray” and they make little quote signs with their fingers. They know that if they come into my office after a while, they might find me on the futon with my eyes closed “meditating on the word of God.”
You might be wondering if I have as much problems staying awake while reading other things. The answer would be no. But I’ve thought about this and there’s actually a couple of reasons that come to mind.
First reason: I get only about 5-1/2 hours of sleep per night. Second reason: I go pretty hard all day, not really slowing down until evening. Third: I get up at about 4:45am. And finally, I read my bible either at the very beginning or the very end of the day; the sleepiest times of my day. I read for pleasure as I can fit it in at various other times.
Nevertheless, as I was reading my bible the other day, I felt like my eyelids were beginning to weigh about 47 pounds each. I began to think about my days when I was part of a “deliverance ministry” in our previous church.
Without going into too much detail, this ministry believed that although true Christians couldn’t be possessed by demons, a Christian’s behaviors could be controlled by evil spirits until they were “cast out” of specific areas of the spiritually afflicted Christians life. God has since “delivered” me from this sort of hogwash.
As I was sitting there fighting off the Sandman, I remembered that we were taught that there was actually a “spirit of slumber” that caused Christians to get sleepy whenever the word of God was either being preached or read. We were taught that this particular demon’s job was to go around and prevent people from feeding on the word of God because they had fallen asleep.
In other words, the older man sitting in church Sunday morning, whose head was beginning to nod a little, had nothing to do with the fact that he had worked hard all of his life and when he sat down and things got a little quiet he begin doze off. It had everything to do with the fact this man was probably afflicted by a “spirit of slumber” trying to steal the word of God from him.
The thing is, if asked, they had a Biblical explanation for this and every belief similar to this. Scriptures could be quoted and examples from the Bible given. However, obviously, these were Biblical examples all taken out of context.
The answer to this “spirit of slumber” as well as a host of other afflicting spirits was to cast them out of the Christian’s life. This required a detailed “deliverance” session where several “deliverance team” members took part in casting this evil spirit out of the afflicted’s life. These sessions, looking back, more closely resembled a ritual than a ministry.
One day I hope to go into more detail about this ministry I was involved in and it’s bizarre list of spirits that were to blame for all of the problems in a Christian’s life.
Needless to say, I’m free from this nonsense. I still go through periods where I’m ashamed for falling for this (might be that “spirit of shame). I regret the lost time in my life (that ol’ “spirit of mourning”) and I have a difficult time wondering why I went so long without seeing the truth (“spirit of blindness” and possibly “spirit of confusion”). However, I’m free from it. Praise God for the truth.
I guess it’s time to end this entry, I’m beginning to feel the “spirit of slumber” beginning to overtake me again.
I better go find my crucifix and some garlic and onions.