Scientific research shows that during sleep, we process mega bytes of data. Data which isn’t processed as acutely while we’re awake.
Sleep is a different level of consciousness—an active unawareness. Despite this subconscious lack of awareness, our minds alertly and accurately process pieces of thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and decision-making during sleep. Without us pushing the buttons. And that’s good!
Do you think God designed this so that our conscious brains, our cultured assumptions and our faulty points of view can get out of the way for a while? Yes. Sleep is like a filter purifying our processing of data.
Our own brains sometimes get in the way of what is good for us.
We overthink ourselves into worrying about something that isn’t even true. We overanalyze a formula so that it can’t possibly work for any alternative ideas or exceptional circumstances. We overconfidently assume that our opinions are always right.
This is why Jesus chided his own fear-filled disciples in the middle of a storm at sea with him in the boat, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid” (Matthew 8:26). These grown men were using their brains and the conclusion of their logical minds was, “We’re going to drown and die.” This scared them. Jesus was not impressed.
Do you know what kind of people really impressed Jesus? Children. Even little children. Even babies. They don’t overthink or overanalyze. Their brains don’t get in the way of the truth as much as adults’ brains do.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3,4).
Our opinion of our own opinion is so easily impressed that it blinds us to truth. Jesus says that gets in the way of a fulfilling life connected to his kingdom, now and forever. So sleep more!? Maybe. But Jesus clearly directs us to what is better than our thinking or even sleeping. Our believing. Like children believe—humbly, eagerly, quickly.
Jesus tells adults that we should stop complicating things with our great wisdom and mature comprehension, and stop getting in our own way. Be more like babies and toddlers. Humbly accept Jesus. Eagerly embrace Jesus. Quickly seek Jesus. Believe in Jesus. With uncomplicated minds and undeveloped egos.
Baptism is the gift of God’s saving grace that delivers such faith, even to babies.
Because cognitive processing is related to faith, but is not the same as faith. It can help faith. It can also hurt faith. What matters more than cognitive, conscious processing is believing. Awake or asleep. Adult or infant.
This is why it is so good for adults to welcome babies—via baptism—into a relationship with Jesus. In doing so, we welcome him and his kingdom. And he approves, “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5).