Don’t Let the Sun Go Down
Everyone’s concept of the perfect day is different. My perfect day would likely involve a whole lot of fish, hiking, sports, good food, a campfire, and board games. The surroundings would be a few select friends, the ocean, and the mountains. It would be warm enough not to need a sweater, but cool enough to be completely comfortable! That is the kind of day which should not end. Let the sun just sit on the horizon and never go down. The truth of the matter is the sun does go down each day. It will continue doing so until God puts an end to it by replacing it with something better.
Elton John sings a song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”. It is a song about being rejected, having a relationship end. The proper understanding of the phrase “Don’t let the sun go down” is presented. It is a time in which there is an ending of an emotion, activity, relationship, process, etc. The sun must go down on certain things and life is one of them (James 4:14). However, such is not the case with all things. According to Isaiah 40:8, “The word of our God stands forever”. There are certain things which are ordained to end and others which are not; yet these do not cover all possible options. Man has control over certain aspects of his life and whether or not the sun goes down on them. Below six such items are mentioned.
Don’t let the sun go down on your growth
Every person born is given life and time. The times vary, but they are indeed a possession of man. He determines what he will do with the time. To think someone would just sit and let the time pass without expanding their knowledge about their God and the world around them is unfathomable. However, many people come really close to doing so. They sit and practically vegetate waiting for the day of their death. The apostle Peter encouraged the Christians to “Grow in the grace and knowledge” of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), something through which he said “all things pertaining to life and godliness” were known (2 Peter 1:3). The answers to a great number of man’s “why’s” cannot be discovered except through growth. Truly knowing yourself cannot be achieved except through growth. Knowledge of one’s own life and surroundings will point the individual to grow in knowledge of God (Romans 1:18-20). To refuse to grow is to go against one’s own conscience thereby darkening the heart. Most importantly, the knowledge of Christ allows us to grow in respect to our salvation (I Peter 2:2) and it enables to mature and be like Christ (Ephesians 4:15). Such a process does not come overnight, not is it achieved by doing nothing. Growth is a never ending action which the sun should never be allowed to go down upon.
Don’t let the sun go down on your love
With growth, comes love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Love can be manifested properly through devotion for God, others, and self. How can man not love God? He has so generously provided all that we have. He allows us the exhilaration of feeling sand between our toes and to hear the first cry of our newborn children. For those who desire to be his, he provides all that is needed (Matthew 6:33). He even sent his son to earth so all who choose to do so can have eternal life (John 3:16). Love for God should consume man (Matthew 22:37). By the example of Christ’s life, He demonstrated his love for others. It is a love which man is commanded to have (Ephesians 5:25, Matthew 5:44). The characteristic love of a Christian’s life (Galatians 5:22-23) is what enables others to see their love for God (I John 5:2). It allows mankind to know whether or not a person is indeed a Christian (John 13:35). If the sun goes down on the love in a Christian’s life, he is no longer a faithful Christian. A man who loves himself, who cares about his own salvation, cannot put aside love in his life. Love is the essence of being like Christ for God is love (I John 4:8).
Don’t let the sun go down on your service
The saying goes, “It is better to give than to receive”. This describes service. Service blesses the recipient and lifts the server’s heart if done in truth. Man was created to glorify God with good works (Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 5:16). Such deeds are service to the Father in heaven. When we do well, we please Him and fulfill our purpose (Genesis 4:7). True satisfaction can result from serving God through serving others. The knowledge someone is better off or happier through your hand is an intangible gift enabled by God. However, there is a great temptation and encouragement from the world to focus on self rather than others. There are so many different ways we can serve ourselves. Helping others logically seems to take time away from pleasing oneself. Therefore, man is prone to stray from serving others. Yet, accomplished by the logic of man, a life focused on self only result in tragedy not satisfaction. The issue of serving self is a drug which we can never get enough. Only serving self does not please God, it does not help others, and it does not prepare us for eternal blessing (Galatians 6:9). Stay strong and do not let the sun go down on your service.
Don’t let the sun go down on your sobriety
The Christian must always be alert, able to make clear decisions with wisdom (2 Timothy 4:5). When a man fails to be accurately aware of himself, he puts himself in danger (2 Corinthians 13:5). A warrior evaluates his armor and skills because he knows his life is on the line (I Peter 5:8). He looks for weak spots, vulnerabilities. He does not go into battle distracted, but with a clear mind. The Christian is always on the battle ground. The land mines of temptation are set everywhere. Snares and pitfalls are at every turn. There are no safe houses. The church has been infiltrated in many locations and in many ways. Study (2 Timothy 2:15), diligence (2 Peter 3:14), and self control (I Corinthians 9:25) are a necessity. God provides an escape for the traps that arise (I Corinthians 10:13), but they are only recognizable to those who endure in sobriety and do not let it end.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger
Ephesians 4:26 is a verse which is interpreted in opposition to its text by many individuals. Specifically, the verse tells the Christian to be angry. It then tells the Christian to not let the sun go down on his anger. As in this entire discussion about not letting the sun go down on anything, we are talking about not letting it end. The text of the Ephesians 4 is talking about the Christian walk and staying away from sin. Sin is to be hated. As God, man is to be angry with sin. However, man is not to sin. Sinful anger is destructive (Exodus 5-14), jealous (Genesis 4:8), selfish (Jonah 4:9-11), unkind (I Kings 19:2), and ugly (Acts 7:54-60). One should be angry about sin because it destroys lives. It destroys souls. It keeps man from his eternal home and causes him to forsake the loving God who created him. The sun should never set upon man’s anger toward sin.
Don’t let the sun go down on your hope
Peter and Paul encouraged the Christians to keep hope in the return of Christ in I Peter 1:13 and Titus 2:11-15. If we did not have hope in the return of Christ, what would we have? What would a world without hope look like (I Thessalonians 4:13)? Sorrow, grief, and pain would abound. If it weren’t for the hope in Christ, the fall into pure evil would be drastically accelerated. Hope is what caused Paul to stand before governors and kings. Hope is what brought James to be put to death by the sword at Herod’s command. Hope is what enabled Christian after Christian to look to God as they fell at the hands of Roman persecution. Man is saved by hope (Romans 8:24). He looks to the examples of God’s gracious and faithful hand upon past generations to validate his hope (Romans 15:4). It is through the New Testament Gospel of Christ the world has hope of heaven and seeing the crown of his brothers and sisters standing with him (I Thessalonians 2:19). A man who trusts in God has the hope of resurrection (I Corinthians 15) and eternal life (Titus 1:2, 3:7). Such a hope must not end (Hebrews 6:11).
The sun must not go down on growth, love, service, sobriety, anger, and hope. Man has a duty to engage this choice. These are essential to the heart of Christianity. Christ stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but through me.” Where there is light, the Son has not gone away. He is coming back to take his sheep home. All the characteristics of those striving to be like Christ are alive and well with him. It is there we shall walk in the light for eternity.
Revelation 21:23 – And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.