Have you ever had to work a graveyard shift at your job before? Have you ever even heard of the phrase “graveyard shift”? Certain jobs like factories, hospitals, or other 24-hour establishments require people to be there all around the clock. Therefore, employees are given the “graveyard shift” in which they clock in sometime around midnight and clock out in the early hours of the morning. For many, this would be a nightmare to endure, but for some, this is preferred on account of different circumstances. Why though is it called the graveyard shift? Where does this phrase originate? According to myth, this came from a few hundred years ago from those who watched over a graveyard itself. Those who were given this unfortunate task were there to thwart grave robbers, runoff vandals, and allegedly to listen out for those who were accidentally buried alive. This last responsibility and what it implies, that some were buried alive, is one that is haunting to us today. Before modern medicinal procedures, it was much more challenging to be 100% sure at times if people were genuinely dead or not. Sometimes I believe the opposite of that happens within Christianity today. So many believers in the church look alive in God, but in reality, are not active in Him at all. The majority of the time, these Christians themselves feel as if they are walking in the light and living a full life in Him. By the life they live and the outward appearance they show they are led into a state of false security. This situation is the devil’s favorite situation for God’s followers. When the person believes they are saved and in fact, are living a lifestyle or making decisions that are leading them the opposite way.
An example of this can be found in Galatians 2:11-14. Paul writes, “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” In this text, we see Paul boldly confronting Peter on account of Peter living a hypocritical lifestyle in this area of Antioch. Undoubtedly while Peter was living this way, he was still laboring for the Lord in various ways and doing good for those around Him. Nevertheless, Peter, perhaps callously, was still doing damage to the church in this area by living this two-faced type of Christianity. While many good things may have still been being accomplished, Peter was in a false state of security that he was living an altogether righteous lifestyle before the brethren. How many times in our lives do we get in a similar situation where we feel so great about the positive things, we’re doing for the Lord that we are blind to the negative things we are wrapped up in? This false state of security can lead us down a long road of callous living where the negative side only grows to be more and more of a problem both for us and the Kingdom.
Perhaps the best example one can find in the Word where we see someone living in a state of false security is that of David in 2 Samuel 11. Here we find what many call “David’s great sin” where he commits adultery with Bathsheba and is confronted with the dilemma of her becoming pregnant. In an attempt to cover everything up, David then goes onto murder Uriah the Hittite in a second-hand type of way by asking his general to send him into battle alone. After the deed is done, we see in Samuel 11:27 a state of somewhat peace after this for some length of time. 2 Samuel 11:27, “When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” How long would David have lived in this false state of security where he felt like now all was well in his life? Thankfully for him, God intervenes and sends a spokesperson on his behalf in order to expose to David what he had done. Nathan’s simple message to him goes,
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb
Which he bought and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,
And was like a daughter to him.
Now a traveler came to the rich man,
And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd,
To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;
Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
David responds in verse 5 of the chapter, “Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.’”. After this, Nathan reveals to David that he is this man, and David realizes his grave trail of terrible decisions. Again, how long would the great man of faith and the one who is described as “the man after God’s own heart” have gone on living in this state of false security?
If men like Peter and David can have this happen to them, then we undoubtedly can as well. How many of us today look alive in God by our worship attendance and good deeds but are, in fact, lifeless in our actual connection to God through the reading of His Word and prayer? Ephesians 2:4-5 talks about how we have been “made alive together with Christ.” May we always live a life that reflects what God has done for us!