Romans 13:8-10 ESV
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Love Each Other
This word “love” means to prefer what God prefers, to choose his choices, to prefer to live through Christ and to obey the Lord’s commands, all in his power and strength at work in the lives of those who truly believe in him as Lord and Savior of their lives. And what God prefers, what he chooses is what is righteous, holy, upright, morally pure, honest, faithful, and just.
Love is not just an emotion. It is not what we feel, but it is what we do. Love is action, and it is a choice of our free will to act in love towards others, whether or not they love us in return. And one of the aspects of that love is that we will not deliberately, and especially not habitually, sin against others, for love does no wrong (no harm) to a neighbor (to all other humans).
So, if you are married, and if you are cheating on your spouse by lusting after others or by viewing pornography or other sexually charged videos or movies or still pictures, or by engaging in self-gratification in place of being actively involved in genuine loving intimacy with your spouse, then that is not love. For love does not deliberately do wrong to others.
Or, if you have a job and you take home things that are not yours to take, or if you cheat on your time, or if you play around on your phone while at work instead of working, and other such things as this, it is cheating, it is dishonest (lying), and it is stealing from your company, so it is wrong, and it is doing wrong to your employer.
And since Jesus said that hate is the same as murder, if you are making it your practice to hate certain people just because they are not like you or because of something they did that you did not like, then you are wronging the people that you hate, plus you are hurting yourself, and the hate will eat away at you and lead you to other types of sins, as well.
But if we love other humans as we love and care for ourselves, we will not deliberately sin against them. We will not make it our practice to do evil against them, but we will do to them and for them what is for their good. And that may include speaking the truth in love to them when they are doing evil against other humans, especially if they claim to love God.
Romans 13:11-14 ESV
“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. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Who Needs to Wake Up?
So, who needs to be awakened from their sleep? This is not talking about physical sleep but spiritually being not wide awake, not totally alert and involved spiritually, perhaps being spiritually lazy or living in spiritual apathy. These can be those who are not true followers of Jesus Christ but who are Christians in name only, so they are illegitimate children of God.
Or they can be those of genuine faith who allowed the lusts of the flesh and sinful desires to take them back to where they were before they believed in Jesus, living for sensual desires instead of for the glory of God. They are also those who are not genuine in their faith, who are living a lie, who are being stupid and foolish by giving sway to the sinful desires of the flesh.
Many of these who are living by the flesh and for sensual desires are engaged in sexual idolatry, adultery, and are living for extreme lust. They are those who are addicted to sexual sins, who are lewd and lascivious, and who are making sexual immorality of all sorts their practice, their habit. They long to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. They do not long for righteousness.
But some of them may put on a show of righteousness and purity. They may perform as though they are being loving, when it is just that, a performance. Sometimes those who are addicted to sexual sin will go out of their way to appear loving as a cover-up for their sexual addiction. Addicts have many ways in which they cover for their sinful practices.
As Followers of Jesus
As followers of Jesus Christ, God has given us everything we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to not give way to sin. Jesus made the way of escape for us. We just have to take it and not ignore it. He gave us the power and strength we need to fight off temptation to sin, but we have to put what he has given to us into practice in our lives.
If we do not practice resisting the devil and fleeing temptation and saying “No” to sin and “Yes” to righteousness on a daily basis, our spiritual muscle (strength and power from God) will weaken, not that God’s power will weaken, but us taking advantage of that power will weaken and it will open us wide to being drawn back into sin, impurity, and the lusts of the flesh.
This is why Jesus said that if anyone would come after him (want to be his disciple) he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. We must make righteousness our practice. Daily we must put to death the deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit, and put on that spiritual armor of God to fight off the devil’s schemes against us.
Daily we must put on Christ and his righteousness, i.e. we must apply the character and will of God and his righteousness to our lives, and put them into practice, much like physical exercise for the health of our physical bodies, only spiritual exercise, instead. And we must make no provision for the flesh. We know our weak areas. We must not “tempt fate,” basically.
If you have been a sex addict most of your life, private access to the internet is not a good choice for you. Especially you can’t just “surf the net” aimlessly hoping to not get tempted. If overeating is your issue, stop buying things you know will tempt you to overeat. If anger is your thing, don’t watch sports or politics or whatever triggers that anger.
Much of our resistance to Satan has to do with being proactive spiritually, putting on that armor daily, having a plan of action, not wandering aimlessly through life, and not toying with sin or playing with temptation. But if we leave that door open, chances are pretty good we will eventually walk right back through it. We have to get tough on sin, and our Lord will help us.
For, as followers of Jesus, we carry the life of Jesus within us, and we are responsible to nurture that life and to walk it, to live it, and to bring that life of Christ within us to full maturity in God’s strength and power. But we don’t have to walk it alone. Our Lord has provided all that we need to live holy lives pleasing to him. We just have to let him lead, and we must follow.
Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Chris Eaton
I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
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