READING: Psalms 87-88, Romans 13
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.”
Paul and the early church so strongly believed in the soon return of Jesus that its perceived closeness affected the way they lived. Paul’s writings in Romans 13 speak of that sense of urgency – “it is already the hour for you to wake from sleep” (Rom. 13:11); “now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11); “the night is nearly over, and the daylight is near” (Rom. 13:12) – and the believers were to live differently in that light. They were, for example, to reject carousing and partying, walk away from sexual sin, and turn from quarreling and jealousy. Instead, they were to “put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12), an image that signifies putting on Christ and turning from darkness. Renouncing the flesh would not be easy, but believers were to make that choice as they awaited the return of their Lord.
We are now centuries away from Paul’s day, but those centuries move us only closer to Christ’s return. So true is this reality that Paul’s words, “now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed,” are even more significant today. I realize these words sometimes seems like only words, but it’s right to say that every day that passes brings us one day closer to the return of Jesus. That reality ought to drive us to reject things that bring only temporary pleasure and focus instead on only those things that carry eternal significance. Chasing things that cannot give joy makes little sense, and fighting among believers when Jesus is on His way back makes even less sense.
Our goal must be to be found in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus when He returns. Continually transformed into His likeness, we should then look forward with anticipation to His return.
- Consider this question: how would your life change if you knew for certain that Jesus was coming back today?
- Live with the same urgency that characterized the early church.
PRAYER: “Jesus, I choose to walk in Your light, and I reject the things of darkness.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 89-90, Romans 14