“And do this [love], understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12
There is an urgency to our lives. There is a movement and momentum into which we have been swept up, and we mustn’t be caught unaware or unprepared. God has been moving forward with His new creation purpose for millennia, and we are now a part of it with Him. His Kingdom has come, and we are now participants in its movement.
Yesterday we considered the power that hope has to bring us unshakeable joy. Here Paul gives a statement of hope that has a challenge built right into it: “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” That’s a fact of the future to which we can cling, but it compels us to do something with zeal and earnestness: “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
You and I know firsthand how powerfully the world and its things can pull at us, Disciple. The temptation to distractedness is one of the most constant and persistent that we face every day. The dangers of “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things” are still very real for us nearly two thousand years after our Master mentioned them in His parable of the sower (Mark 4:19). In that parable, He warned that these things can choke the word of the Kingdom, making it unfruitful. May it never be! What earthly pleasure or delight can compare to the unspeakably good and eternally great promises of our Father’s kingdom?
It will take determination, discipline, and purposeful training to do as Paul instructed. Putting on armor is an act of warfare, not of hobby. Putting on armor is the action of a soldier, not a spectator. We truly are engaged in an ancient struggle against spiritual forces that are on their way out. Their time is short, but they still have time to do their terrible worst. Let us be alert and sober-minded (1 Peter 1:13, 4:7, and 5:8) because we know what is really happening in the world around us. We aren’t unaware of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11), and so we can stand strong in the power of Christ’s Word, Spirit, and Body. We can do what the Enemy cannot overcome: we can love. We can love sincerely, fully, and persistently. We can love even when we’ve been wronged; we can love our enemies; we can love when we feel like it and when we don’t. We can love like our Master Jesus loves because His Spirit is alive in us and His Word is bearing fruit in us. We can walk in the armor of light knowing that soon the light will be all that remains because the darkness will be put aside once and for all by our soon-coming King!
Putting aside the darkness and walking in the light with you,