Romans 13:11 - “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”
By: Ty VanHorn, Planting Pastor, Big House Church
My wife and I have eight children and with that many children in our household a good night’s sleep is hard to come by. You have to plan for it, usually by hiding somewhere in the house where little ones can’t find you. Perhaps you can relate to what I’m talking about. There is nothing like a deep, wonderful, refreshing and life-restoring night’s sleep. At least that is what I’ve heard. I can’t tell you how many times I have been awakened by the soft touch of a little one’s hand or a sweet voice, stuck on repeat, asking “Daddy are you sleeping?” Perhaps the most startling way I’ve been awakened is by the power of a four year old’s ability to somehow call me out of the domain of dreams to awaken and find them silently staring at me. It isn’t as precious as it sounds.
In the New Testament letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul, is writing to believers spread all throughout a modern city that is filled with crazy ideologies, mythologies, beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles. In this masterful treatise Paul convincingly pleads with them to live a life that makes a forever difference in the lives of the people around them. In chapter 13 Paul is exceedingly practical as he encourages believers to obey the laws of the land. Then he entreats them to go way beyond that by fulfilling the law of the Lord. In a very poignant statement Paul says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8) The power of a people living lovingly toward those around them is an incredible testimony of God’s ability to awaken people to a greater way to live.
As believers, as followers of Jesus, we are called to love the people around us. It is through the pragmatic, practical and tangible experience of love expressed that people awaken to the reality of God. In so many ways we, the body of Christ, are to work hard at loving our neighbors, our coworkers, our fellow students, really any people who are regularly around us. Truth is, it is a lot easier not to live this way. It is less complicated and more personally satisfying to our flesh to find a place to hide, to find something to cover us and to remain sleepy toward this call to love others. But if we are to make a forever difference, a Gospel difference, an experiential difference then we will fight our desire for personal comfort and awaken from our sleepy inaction. May the God of heaven send His sons and daughters to awaken the Church to live in this way, for indeed, “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”
Lord Jesus, thank You that You loved us before we could ever love You. Your love has literally transformed our lives and given us a fresh opportunity to live lovingly toward those around us. We pray that our eyes would be open to the many ways we have to live this out. Awaken Your Church in the city of Houston. Chase away the slumbering slothfulness of our fleshly spirituality. It is our hour to shine the Light of the Gospel in the places where You have entrusted us to live out the Good News of God’s love. In Jesus Name, Amen.