Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Romans 13:11-12 where the Bible says,   

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.


“Be Woke,” “Get Woke,” and “Act Woke” are phrases that dominate pop-culture today. But what does being “woke” really mean? And, more importantly, does it really matter? Dictionary.com describes being “woke” as follows: “Being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice. In mainstream use, woke can also more generally describe someone or something as being ‘with it.’”[1] So, to be “woke” is to be aware. What could be wrong with awareness? Of course, being aware of discrimination, oppression, or injustice are good things. If you see things that are wrong and don’t acknowledge them, if you just sweep such things under the rug, it only encourages more destructive behavior.

Awareness is one thing. Perceived solutions are another. And that’s where the “woke” culture of today is anything but “awake.” The woke movement is more of a pietistic scrubbing of society which defines good and evil on very specific, even biased terms, and then seeks to annihilate anything and silence everyone that the movement defines as “evil.” Movements such as these tend only to deconstruct and destroy, leaving things in more chaos than ever. That’s not just my opinion. Former President Barak Obama raised such a concern when he said, “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”[2] Those are good points. Another way to say them is to affirm that even our best deeds are still full of selfishness and sin. And merely casting stones isn’t going to ultimately solve the big issues that matter either.

That’s why Romans 13 tells us to do more than become “woke” on our terms. Instead, we are called to “wake up” to what God says about things, and to what God has done in response to the brokenness and sin of our world. Yes, wake up to your sin and your brokenness. Take it seriously. But realize that everyone else is a 100% sinner too. However, just calling it out doesn’t save us from it we also need to wake up from the slumber of thinking that this world’s solutions will solve the problems of violence, immorality, profanity, coveting, lying, deceiving, and so forth. Wake up to your sinfulness, yes, but also wake up to God’s antidote for the human condition, the Savior, Jesus the Messiah. He took upon Himself all of the barbs and accusations of the “woke” pietists (as well as their sins too); in fact, He all of the world’s sins and transgressions were laid upon Him (see Isaiah 53:4-6). On the cross He not only suffered the temporal punishments that we might accept for such deeds, but He also took upon Himself the eternal punishment for them (see Matthew 27:46). He then offers us His perfect life as a gift. Wake up to that! It will change your heart. It will change your mind. It will allow you to be merciful in a merciless world. It will allow you to humbly serve others with no thought of personal gain. It will allow you to face whatever this world throws at you because “waking up” means putting your trust in Christ in all things with your eyes wide open to who you are, and more importantly to who He is and what He has done for you. Then live life IN HIM as you put  His will and merciful ways into action for the benefit of others.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to take an honest look at myself and the world in which I live. But, more importantly, help me to see things from the perspective of your Word, the Bible. As I encounter the power of both the Law and the Gospel, grant that I might be awake to Your saving ways. Let me see clearly the fullness of Your work on my behalf, indeed on behalf of everyone in the whole world. AMEN.


[1] https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/woke/

[2] https://nypost.com/2019/10/30/obama-rips-woke-culture-at-foundation-event/

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