Thursday, July 1, 2010

Owe Nothing-- Except Love!

Rom. 13:8-10 NLT
  8  Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.  9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

The previous  two paragraphs in Romans 12 were all about obeying the government, and paying taxes-- doing right. It seemed too 'political' for me to cite those passages just now when we serve under a government that most think is destroying our culture and nation. However, no government is in power without God allowing it for His greater plan,  including our present one.  God directs us to live in peace with government nevertheless. We move on to verses 8-10 that talk about staying out of bondage to debt.

I wish I had learned this lesson decades ago, so I hope you who are just starting out will pay attention and heed these words. Credit cards and debt are a form of enslavement that prevent us from the freedom Christ died for us to have. After  the interest rates, principle,  and the taxes, we have little remaining to be a blessing to others. Most people I know even struggle to be faithful paying God's ten percent (the "Tithe") each month or week. Debt is a burdensome master. Pray that you can avoid it or can close it out. There are ways to do both, and the root of those ways is based in holy living. If we live NOT to please ourselves, then the temptation to 'buy it now' will not be a strong one to us. If we seek God's wisdom, then we will be able to put God's priorities on how we spend the resources that He gives us.

The one way in which it is OK to remain in a sort of 'debt' is with regard to love. God has loved us so much, at such a great cost, that we could never begin to repay it to Him. But he has not asked for repayment. He has asked us to lover others with the same love He directs toward each one of us who trust in Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  How much attention do you pay toward looking after yourself? Contrast that with how much attention we pay toward looking after others-- especially those who have great needs? This particular form of the term "love" has more to do with unconditional supreme regard for another than the other thing our society often mistakes for so-called love (sexual romance or family loyalty). Thus, today you can exercise what God has shown to you-- unconditional love for others around you. To whom will you focus God's love first? And after that, who?

Your servant in Christ's love
Daniel C. Elliott

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