Romans 13:11-14 paints a vivid picture of what to wear on the journey. Dressing and packing appropriately is an important part of the journey, especially if you plan to go in a new direction. What to wear, what to take, and what to leave behind forces me to make difficult decisions. The lectionary this week begins in Romans 13:11 and tells very clearly what not to pack. I believe it’s important to step back a few verses to get a clearer vision of what I need to put on and pack before heading up the path God has in mind.
Romans 13:8-14 The Message
“Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!”
Since I moved in with my son and his family, waking up has become a blessing. The little girls always wake with squeals of delight. That was particularly true this morning because we had a dusting of snow. Hearing them wake up and play upstairs reminds me that I am not alone on this journey. I believe that’s the point of this passage of scripture. Love is what I need to wear. Love is what I need to pack. Love is what I need to pass along to all those in my path.
I’ve spent far too much of my live exhausted in taking care of the day-to-day and have been absorbed by worry and fret. Lust is the opposite of love and involves so much more than sex. It is what causes me to doze off and become oblivious to God. It keeps me from loving as He desires. Lust lures me into lingering and loitering, and it convinces me to wait a little longer and indulge in what I want. We are in a season of lust, and I know that breaks God’s heart. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas become a blur of frivolity, indulgence, bickering, and grabbing everything in sight. Many people fall into deep depression during the fall while others choose to be blissfully oblivious.
Waking up and getting dressed is a process that involves making decisions about where I’m going, why I’m going, and who’s going with me. The answer to all three questions is God. He is the Who, what, where, why and how on the journey. The only question left for me is when because He will not push me out the door or drag me along. I have to decide when I’m ready to get up, get dressed, and be up and about on His way. When I decide I’m ready to go, He’ll help me with the dressing and the packing. So, put on Christ; pack some love, and let’s get going!