8Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. 9 In the Law there are many commands, such as, “Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others.” But all of these are summed up in the command that says, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 10No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands.
11You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.
Paul here underlines Jesus’ teaching on the Old Testament law. Jesus did not negate the old law, he fulfilled it. He helps us understand it.
For Jesus it was about pathways. For instance, he said, “But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts” (Matthew 5:28). Implicit here is the path: lust in your heart, imagine, fantasize, flirt, act on the impulse… Jesus says, “Stay off the path.” When we lust we are on the same path as one who is acting on the impulse. Granted they are farther ahead on the path, but it is the same path. Jesus described murder as a stage on the path and it starts way back here with anger and insult (Matthew 5:21-22). Get off and stay off the path. “Wake up!”
There is another path we can take: it’s the path towards Jesus, and with Jesus. When the writer of Romans says “Wake up!” he is reminding us to allow Jesus, the light of the world, to help us see what path we are on. The life path is way too short for any of us to waste another moment on the path without Jesus (the murder path, the adultery path, the hate path, the drunken path).
How do we wake up? The church family can help, but it requires that you have the courage to ask a trusted friend in your church family, “What about the path I am now taking – what do you see? Do you see Jesus with me? In me?” Sometimes we need someone to shake us awake!
Sometimes we can simply hear God’s voice say to us, “Wake up, child – time to walk with ME.”
Father, I hear you calling me to wake up. It’s easy sometimes to ignore your voice and stay asleep. I can fool myself to believe that here in the dark you don’t really see me and know about some bad choices I am making. No more kidding myself or ignoring you. I want to be fully awake and alive in you. I step into this day with you!