Rom. 13:11-14 (NLT)
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome-- and to us as well-- about laying aside evil that comes in our nature. He described the various evil tendencies common to fallen humankind and the acts associated with such evil. He now moves to reinforce, with a sense of urgency, the importance for Christ-followers to awaken from the stupor of self and sin. The world tries to lull us to sleep with calls for self satisfaction, self-aggrandizement, self-promotion, and self-service. Paul likens the ways of the fallen world to darkness and night, or to dirty and stained clothes.
Paul calls you and me to let our faith in Christ remove the darkness, or remove those stained rags and replace with shining light and shining armor. What is this new shining? It is 'right living.' We can be given power over self in order to live lives serving others. So many churches these days, are caught up in disagreements over styles, traditions, and past practices. In the end, the fuss is all about appeasing certain members personal preferences. Paul says the Church-- the Body of Christ, is not about self preferences. He reminds us that 'right living' is about giving ourselves away in service to others, obeying God's leadership. How are you giving yourself away today? How will you tomorrow? Rather than participating in self-indulgent and immorality, you can be blessing others. It's not so much about getting people to go to your church as it is about you and your church simply blessing and serving others.
How about blessing your community? How about caring for homeless or joining with other churches to do so? How about random acts of kindness without personal recognition? How about saying "NO" to sin and "YES" to unconditional love toward others? That is the shining armor of right living.
Your servant in Christ's Love