As we come to the end of Yom Kippur and the High Holidays for this year we will soon hear the sounding of the Shofar for the last time, which is a call for all of us to spiritually wake up and take notice. So tonight I would like to spend a few minutes talking about our need to be “spiritually awake”, not just during the High Holidays but throughout the year.
Being spiritually awake is to understand and then act on the main themes throughout the High Holidays. Throughout the last week we have talked about our need to turn away from our sins and back to Adonai, to experience the forgiveness and atonement only found through Messiah Yeshua, and to be reconciled to one another.
But after the gates are closed, after the fast has been broken, it is very easy for each of us to go back into our slumber. To go back into our habits and concerns of this life and to neglect once again our relationships with Adonai and one another. An analogy I like is the idea of waking up in the morning to an alarm, turning it off, and then just a few minutes later going back into bed and falling asleep. It is an open secret throughout the Jewish world that the High Holidays are the only times throughout the year some Jewish people will attend services and really think about God. Last year I shared with the story of Jewish Mobsters, the Purple Gang, who would kill and commit crimes throughout the year but could always be found in services during the High Holidays. There was a huge difference clearly between their behavior this time of the year and the rest. If they became spiritually awake during the High Holidays, it seemed to only last for a very short time.
But this disconnect can also be true in Messiah’s Community of Jews and Gentiles, where we move into seasons of being spiritually asleep. When this occurs we try to make Adonai take a back seat to the things in this life we consider more important, such as our jobs or the pleasures we enjoy. The reality is as human beings this is our default way of living and through our own power it is impossible to completely break these habits and cycles. But through the power of Adonai it is very possible to remain spiritually awake, to not go back into our slumber.
To stay spiritually awake and understand the call of the Shofar is to begin with being reconciled to Adonai through the Son of God, Messiah Yeshua. But after we have been reconciled to God the process does not stop there. We begin to enter into a new relationship with our Creator, one with fantastic access to Him that is mediated through our Great High Priest. But is also requires us to engage in the hard work of being spiritually disciplined.
We need to be part of a good Messianic Congregation or Church not trying to live our lives alone.
We also need to read and study God’s Word throughout our week and allow Him through the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives.
We need to engage in prayer, fasting, and really just taking time out of every day to focus on the Lord and His call on our lives.
We also need to be quick to forgive, having short accounts as Rabbi Glenn called it earlier today, and to not let our pride cause us to stumble.
This is a continuous process and not always an easy one, but the hard work will produce real results as we become transformed from within into men and women who are like our great Messiah.
I could go on but at the end of the day it really comes down to a choice. A choice whether to live life in this world on your own terms or on God’s terms. A choice whether to be sealed in the Book of Life forever or to not be. May each one of us continues to make the right choices in our lives and may we all experience the peace and joy that comes from knowing we are sealed forever in Messiah’s Book of Life.