Friday, September 8, 2023

HALTing for Holiness

By: Lauren Thomas 

Have you ever been so tired that it hurt?  

At a formative age, a mentor taught me two helpful things that went hand-in-hand. First, the acronym HALT, and second, that sometimes the holiest thing you can do is take a nap.


What’s so holy about napping? For starters, Jesus napped. And that has significance:


22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep.

Luke 8:22-23a (ESV)


We see moments throughout the Gospels where Jesus “rested.” This is significant because it demonstrates His humanity. It is human to get tired and need rest. It’s not sinful to need rest; it’s just a fact of being human. A basic human need is sleep, rest.


When we aren’t rested, we aren’t at our best. The acronym HALT stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, tired.” We should “halt,” or stop, whenever one or more of these words describe us. Our brains do not function well when we are tired. We can make poor decisions when we are tired. We can be unkind and unpleasant when we are tired. 


In 1 Kings 19, Elijah was tired, hungry, depressed, and arguably suicidal. God sent an angel to him with instructions to eat and lay down. God understands our human need for rest. He created us and therefore knows the vital importance of these basic needs being met. 


So how is HALTing holy? When our basic human needs are met, it becomes much simpler to serve God and others. We can be better disciples, friends, servants when we are rested. Choosing to HALT is correlated to choosing holiness. HALTing puts us in a position to choose holiness. Read this passage with the idea of HALTing for holiness in mind:


13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 (ESV)


Being “prepared for action,” “sober-minded,” “hopeful,” and “obedient” is just easier when we are rested. 


No matter how well we organize our lives, we may still need to nap from time to time. Maybe you had to get up with a baby through the night. Or maybe you had to study late and get up early for an exam. Or perhaps you stayed out late to serve at a church event. So take the nap. Rest up. And become better equipped to do all that God has called you to do.



Do you have trouble justifying or validating your human needs?

How could choosing to HALT help you choose holiness?


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