Monday, November 8, 2010

Wake Up Call

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

I have mentioned several times about our year-long series in Romans at church and this Sunday we continued in chapter 13.  Here are the three points Doug made in the passage: Love, for the Day is Near.

1. It's time to love. (Romans 13:8)
2. It's time to wake-up. (Romans 13:11)
3. It's time to get dressed. (Romans 13:14)

Interesting to me in verse 8 is the ongoing debt we all have to each other.  And regardless of how we feel day to day, our debt is not paid and we are responsible to share in love toward one another.  Love is difficult.  When we first fall in love, maybe at 16 for some, for me at 22, love comes easily.  We treat each other with respect and serve in awe and wonder at this new feeling.  We feel all good and warm and fuzzy inside and loving one another comes easily.  But eventually the new wears off and what we are left with is a human being, and that human being becomes difficult to love.  As are all human beings.  But God calls us to love our neighbor--referring to those who are close enough to us to love.  Your neighbor is the "one who is near." Who is near to you that God is calling you to love?

We are each given a sphere of influence.  Doug mentioned in church on Sunday that each person's sphere is on average 6-10 people.  As he said this, I leaned over to Mr. Kummerow and said..."ha, my sphere is bigger, I have a blog!"  Well the reality of that statement started to sink in, and I realized with a larger sphere comes a larger responsibility.  Now I just have more people to love. 

Why is it difficult to love your neighbor? I suppose it is difficult, because in true love you must put off affection of yourself and put on affection of another.  AKA: stop being selfish.  As sinners in a fallen world, we tend to lean more toward serving ourselves than serving others.  But loving our neighbor requires we put their needs first.  How can you meet their needs and alleviate their sufferings?  We can choose to show love everywhere in life...from the line at the coffee shop and grocery store, to our actual next door neighbors...and of course right in our homes-loving our husbands as we love ourselves.

What does God call us to wake up to? In verse 11 he says "And do this (love your neighbor), understanding the present time.  The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." Wow.  Each day we live we are one day closer to our salvation...whether that be the returning of Christ or our own earthly death.  Either way, each day we live, is one day less that we will have to share our love with the world.  Each day I live is one less that I will have opportunity to show my love for my husband.  My mom.  My sisters.  My brother and my dad.  My neighbor.  So WAKE UP! And share some love. 

How are we going to get dressed? We can clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:14).  Take off the old, sinful ways, and instead put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10).  Just as Christ put off his own selfish desires (how about not wanting to die on a cross!?) and did it anyway.  He gave his life for us, we must give our lives for others.  Clothing ourselves in the Lord means to walk as Jesus did, serve as Jesus did, and love as Jesus did. 

One of the take-away sayings from the Woman of Worship Beach Retreat was Leslie's quote, "I'm just a dressed up mess." Oh boy, that will never leave me.  Because aren't we really all just a dressed up mess?  When I wake up in the morning and blow dry my hair, apply the lip gloss (I really am that low maintenance) and put on a cute outfit (somedays) but don't stop to pray, spend quiet time with the Lord and reflect on how I will show love that day...well then I am just a dressed up mess.  Instead, as I get ready for the day and I sit down in prayer and meditation, I clothe myself with Christ Jesus which prepares me to show love throughout my day. 

Who are you called to love? How can you show God's love today? Today I will love my husband like no other day before, I will not be selfish today, but in everything I will show love.  Whoever I come in contact with today, will feel the love!

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