11And knowing that this is the right time, because it is already time to wake up. For our rescue (salvation) is closer now than it was when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; day is near. So let’s lay aside the works of darkness and equip ourselves with the tools of light. 13Let’s behave in a way that’s presentable in daylight, not in orgies or drunkenness, not in sexual immorality or vice, not in rivalry or jealousy. 14But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and don’t provide an inroad for the desires of your sinful nature. — Romans 13:11-14
What’s the right season for straightening out your life?
Some people complain about Christianity because we talk about the return of Jesus, and we often say it is â€œsoon.â€ But many centuries have past since the first Christians said that Jesus was coming soon, and still he has not returned. Why worry? It doesn’t seem like â€œsoonâ€ is all that soon after all!
But I think this is one of the least valid complaints against Christianity. For each and every person since Jesus was first proclaimed up to the present day, a day has come â€œsoonâ€ in their lives when the trial period is over, their record is complete, and they have to face God. Whether Jesus comes and interrupts my life through his second coming, or whether I go to my rest, I still have come to that moment when I can no longer change who I am or what the record is.
Paul tells us one thing that is certain to be true: The time of our rescue, or salvation, is closer now than it was when we first believed. It’s closer now than when I started to write this devotional. The clock is ticking day by day.
It’s time to equip ourselves with the tools of the lightâ€”that means the methods and approaches that are suitable to daylight. It means that we need to become kingdom people, people who live in God’s kingdom even while we must live in this foreign land under enemy control. We’re supposed to be different, living in the light.
Notice that in verse 12 we’re told to â€œequip ourselvesâ€ with the tools of light. In verse 14, to â€œclothe ourselvesâ€ with Jesus. I translated the same Greek word in two ways, because we don’t â€œdressâ€ in our tools in the modern world. But the Greek word covers dressing and putting on equipment. The metaphor is a soldier putting on armor and weapons.
You see, those â€œtools of lightâ€ are actually just one thingâ€”Christ Jesus. The way we prepare for the light, the way we prepare for that final moment, whether it comes at the end of our earthly life, or because Jesus has returned, is to let Jesus show through us and from us.
This passage can be a serious stresser. How am I supposed to become this good â€œlightâ€ person? How am I supposed to be ready? What if the sun rises and I’m not ready for the day.
Don’t worry. Jesus is there. That’s what he’s for. Let him shine from all around you.
One final note, notice that chapter 14:1 immediately follows us and reminds us not to be critical of those weaker in the faith. It’s not about human perfection, or even human accomplishment. It’s about Jesus.