Reading: Romans 13: 11-14
Paul writes to the church in Rome with some urgency. As time has elapsed since Jesus’ resurrection, they need some encouragement. Early believers thought Jesus would return soon – surely in their lifetimes. But as year after year ticks by, their mindset began to change. For many, “when” became “will” Jesus return? Some in the church in Rome have begun to drift. Paul’s words to “wake up” reflect this idea. Paul writes, “our salvation in nearer that when we first believed”. While is is true for the Roman church, it is also true for us.
Paul calls the church in Rome to faithful living each day. “The night is nearly over” implies again that again that Christ is coming soon. Or at least that they should return to living that way. He urges them to put aside sin and to “put on the armor of light”. The people must have been straying a but from the faith. The list of actions Paul mentions are things more common to secular Roman culture. Paul is calling the church away from this lifestyle and back to following Christ faithfully each day.
Living today we too have much that we can turn to for pleasure and gratification. Just like the Romans, we too can engage in wild living and a loose lifestyle. The more modern temptations of the TV screen and internet are readily available and offer a degree of privacy. Even more private are our thoughts of jealousy and judgment and envy and freed that can so easily pop up and cause us to sin in our hearts. Our focus on faithful living day by day can be quite a challenge.
So, Paul’s words speak to us as well. We must constantly be aware of the efforts of Satan and work daily to stay out of “darkness”. We must always be ready, always seeking ways to be in the “light” instead. It is a daily battle. It is a daily choice. Each day, may we also “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ”. If we begin each day in Christ, our hearts and minds are better prepared to meet the assaults of the day. We are better prepared to honor God with our choices and decisions. Strengthen and encourage us each day, O Lord our God.