walk in the word
Category: Spiritual Life
“What do you have to live for? What is your purpose in life?” Some years ago, psychologist William Moulton Marston asked this of three thousand people. He was shocked to find that 94% of those surveyed were simply enduring the present while waiting for “something” to happen—waiting for children to grow up and leave home, waiting for the chance to take a long-dreamed about trip, waiting for tomorrow. Just waiting . . .
Is life really that meaningless? Are we here simply to pass time and take up space? No way! God has much more in mind for each of His children. He wants us to live life on purpose—with vision, determination, and expectation. “Sounds exciting, James, but how do we do this? What’s the plan?” I’m glad you asked! In Romans 13:11-14, the apostle Paul gives three admonitions that move us in the right direction.
First, we must WAKE UP. He writes in verse 11: “Do this [that is, love each other], knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” Have you ever slept through your alarm in the morning and awakened too late for work or school? Probably once or twice in your life. Well, in a spiritual sense, this is the exact situation that Paul is calling us to avoid. Our ultimate salvation—that moment when we meet Christ either at His return or in our death—is drawing closer moment by moment. And yet, many believers are “sleeping in,” so to speak. They are living apart from God’s abundant resources and missing the fullness of life in Christ. Are you in this group? Are you sleeping spiritually right now? Are you taking a long nap when you should be taking hold of the Lord? If so, I exhort you to WAKE UP.
Second, Paul tells us to CLEAN UP. Look at verses 12-13: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.” Christ is returning soon to forever rid this world of sin, but we should live as though that day were already here. How? By stripping off the “deeds of darkness”—improper pursuit of fulfillment, sexual sin, and relational sin are mentioned here—and instead suiting up for battle in the armor of God’s light (see Ephesians 6:10-17). Are you doing this? Are you taking off your dirty, smelly clothes each day and replacing them with a fresh, new battle uniform? Or are you still soiled and impure before the Lord? God is instructing you to CLEAN UP.
Third, we are called to GROW UP. Verse 14 reads, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” I don’t know about you, but I was a fairly mischievous kid. Often after I did something stupid, my mom or dad would tell me to grow up. Sadly, many of us need this same reminder spiritually. Our flesh has its own game plan, and it’s not a good one. We must not even consider how we can satisfy its sinful cravings—in other words, we must make no allowances for failure. Rather, we should be growing in our acceptance of Christ’s lordship. He must be in charge of every aspect of our lives. Does this describe you? Are you deliberately and consciously avoiding every opportunity for your flesh to fail? Are you growing in submission to Christ’s authority over your life? God wants you to GROW UP.
Let’s get serious about spiritual maturity! Don’t settle for less than God’s very best in your life. Don’t just pass time and take up space. It’s time to WAKE UP, CLEAN UP, and GROW UP for the glory of God.
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