The Time is Now
Romans 13:11-14 (The Voice)
And now consider this. You know well the times you are living in. It is time for you to wake up and see what is right before your eyes: for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
The darkness of night is dissolving as dawn’s light draws near, so walk out on your old dark life and put on the armor of light.
May we all act as good and respectable people, living today the same way as we will in the day of His coming. Do not fall into patterns of dark living: wild partying, drunkenness, sexual depravity, decadent gratification, quarreling, and jealousy.
Instead, wrap yourselves in the Lord Jesus, God’s Anointed, and do not fuel your sinful imagination by indulging your self-seeking desire for the pleasures of the flesh.
How long have you been sleeping? Are you laying, like Snow White, in a beautiful glass coffin, waiting for someone to come and save you? Are you living your life like a zombie, endlessly moving but not really seeing anything around you? It is time to wake up!
In Romans 13:11-14, Paul tells us that it is time to wake up. It is time to start living like children of God. It is time to walk out of the darkness of our sinful lives, and to walk into the light of eternal life!
Sometimes we "get saved," and think that that's all there is to it. We are told that all we have to do is pray, and Jesus will take all of our sins away and we will go to heaven when we die. Then we spend the rest of our time on earth waiting for death so that we can enjoy heaven. Or we try all of the things that this world has to offer, only to find that they are never enough to fill the emptiness that is inside us. But this is not what Jesus had in mind when he died for us. He did not die so that someday we could go sit on a cloud and play a harp. He did not die so that we could continue to search for happiness in worldly pursuits. He died so that we could be renewed right now! And the way that we do that is to accept Jesus not only as our Savior, but as our Lord, or Master.
We don't like to think of anyone being our "master." That means that we are not in control of our own lives. That means that someone else tells us what to do, and we have to do it. It brings up visions of slavery. Well, it should. That is exactly what Jesus requires of us. We are to be His bondslaves. Our life is no longer our own. We have a purpose for being here, and it is not to "indulge our self-seeking desire for pleasures of the flesh (vs. 14)." We are not here for the fun of sin, but for the joy of the Lord!
Rev. Singleton likened wrapping ourselves in Jesus, and putting on the armor of light, to changing our clothes to go out. Imagine that you have spent the day working outside. Maybe you mowed the lawn, or pruned the trees, or weeded the garden. It was hot and sunny and buggy, and now you are covered in sweat, sunscreen, bug spray, and dirt. You go inside and a friend calls to invite you out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Do you go "as is?" No! You take a shower and put on some nice clean clothes. This is what we have to do as Christians.
We can't continue to live in the same old sinful ways that we always did. We can't spend our time with the same old entertainment, acting and reacting like we did before we were saved. We have to stop living with the dirt, throw off the old clothes, and put on the new. We have to stop hiding in the darkness.
Light is our protective shield. It helps to be honest with ourselves and with everyone around us. If we are walking in light, we can't hide our sins. We can't act differently depending on where we are. We are representatives of Jesus everywhere we go, and people need to be able to see Jesus in our behavior. The light that protects us from the darkness of the evil one also protects us from our own worst selves.
What if you haven't accepted Jesus as your Lord as well as your Savior? You need to choose. Jesus doesn't want half of you. In the book of Revelation, Jesus gives a warning to the church at Laodicea. He says that he can see by their works that they are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, so he spits them out of his mouth (Revelation 3:15-16). What do your works say about you? Has your salvation inspired you to live for Jesus, and to put aside your old sinful ways? Or are you sitting on the fence, trying to be good enough to get to heaven but not so good that you have to give up your "fun"? Are you lukewarm about your walk with Jesus? Calling yourself a Christian is not enough.
Church, we need to wake up. We need to be sold out to Jesus. We need to follow him singly and collectively. We do not have time to waste. We cannot wait for someone else to do it. The time is now!