Now is the Time!

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Hopefully, you have remembered the significance of this day before even reading this post. For those who may have forgotten, today is Veterans’ Day. While our veterans deserve our respect and admiration throughout the entire year, we take this day at the very least to thank, remember, and pray for the men and women who serve in our military and face the trying circumstances brought by their service so that the rest of us can enjoy the freedoms they protect. Not every one of these individuals has had to face combat during a time of war, but those who have know something that most of us don’t have to experience - the way your thoughts and actions change when you recognize that it could all be over for you at any moment.

The reality is that all of us walk this earth with no breath and no time guaranteed to us except what we are using at the present time. We “know” that our lives could end at any time but that doesn’t stop us from taking our future for granted. We think we have time to live how we want and then repent and make the necessary changes later. But as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Many people, including murderers on death row and those with life sentences, find the salvation offered through the Lord as they sit in prison. Others do so from a hospital bed as they realize their time is running out. And of course, many of our soldiers surrender their lives and their fate to the Lord as they prepare to enter a dangerous mission. Everyone that I know who has served in a combat mission has told me how so many soldiers turn to faith in a God they have never known before when capture, injury, or death becomes a very real possibility.

The Apostle Paul understood that sometimes believers lack a sense of urgency in their Christian walk. In Romans 13:11-14, he basically tells his audience of believers in Rome that it is time to wake up. It is important to look at these verses in the larger context of what he is saying in this letter. As we saw earlier in the chapter through the last two weeks’ posts here and here, Paul has been stressing to the believers that they must submit to the authorities (verses 1-7) and also must be willing to show love and mercy on a continual basis (verses 8-10). These are marks of the Christian life. After explaining what the believers need to do, he explains that they are not to wait and assume they have time to figure it out. He says, “And do this, 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” (verse 11). In the next few verses, he proceeds to tell them that because Jesus could return at any moment, they had better make sure they are ready. There is a sense of urgency to make sure their behavior is consistent with what they believe about Jesus Christ, since he will soon be returning to take his followers with him.

If Christians have any question when they are evaluating their lives whether they are consistent with the faith or not, Paul says all they have to do is think about whether their deeds are those they’d want to hide in the darkness or display in the broad daylight. The deeds of darkness are things that generally have to do with lust. It’s not just a sexual lust, but those deeds are most certainly included in the list. The lust Paul is talking about in verses 12-13 is really referring to the craving of anything that pleases the flesh. In addition to sexual sins, drunkenness, dissension, and jealousy are mentioned. As you read this post and take a look at the passage, consider whether those things are marks of your life. If so, it is time for you to wake up from your slumber.

Paul knows, however, that one cannot simply add good behaviors to his life to mask the bad ones. He first says to “put aside the deeds of darkness” (verse 12), then later says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (verse 14). In other words, it’s just like getting dressed in the morning before you start your day. If you’re heading to work, you dress according to your job. I have to dress professionally for my job, but when I go to the gym afterwards I don’t just walk in and start running on the treadmill in khakis. I also don’t throw on gym shorts over my work clothes. It’s necessary for me to put aside the wrong clothes before I can put the right ones on. If you are currently walking in darkness in your life, you have to make a conscious choice to surrender your fleshly desires to the Lord. You have to put them aside, THEN put on your Jesus outfit!

None of us know how much more time we have left before our final breath is taken or before our Lord decides it’s time to come back for us. Are you ready? What things need to be consciously rid from your life? Don’t make the mistake of assuming you can “enjoy” them for just a little while longer before you finally set them aside. Think about what Jesus would see in your life if he came back today. The truth is he can see it already. You cannot hide your choices from him and you are only deceiving yourself if you are pretending that you can. Once you’ve made the choice to get rid of the things in your life that don’t belong, fill those voids with Jesus. “Clothing” yourself with him can mean a lot of things. I would suggest getting into the Word, spending time both talking AND listening in prayer, and finding an accountability partner who will not judge you but will not enable your bad behaviors either. These are just some of the things that have helped me put on Jesus. But I can confess to you that I’m not covered in Jesus enough at times. I am susceptible to the deeds of darkness like anyone. Let’s join together and not wait any longer to “change our clothes.” We don’t know if we will have tomorrow, so RIGHT NOW is the time!

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