“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” – Romans 13:11-14
In the paragraph before this section, Paul writes, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” He continues in the verse to say, “Love does not harm its neighbor. Therefore Love is the fulfillment of the Law.” These verses set the tone for the rest of this passage and create the lens with which to view Paul’s words here; and that lens is Love. Paul is urging his readers to wake up, to open their eyes to the world around them, for if they will they will see salvation is near. The darkness of night is fading to the light of the day. The evil of darkness will fade to the light of love if only we would open our eyes to see it, to become aware of it in our midst. Paul tells us not to behave in such ways that are counter the nature of Love. He is not providing laws to follow, for every Law that needs to be fulfilled is fulfilled in Love.
Therefore, may we participate in true loving relationship with others, not in brief encounters with the intent to only please ourselves. May we understand the deliverance, prosperity, and beauty of each given moment and not use the abuse of substances to escape our current reality. May we realize that all we have has been given to us freely, even our very lives for which we have done nothing to earn. Therefore, let us not live in a state of jealousy or dissension, the fire of which never burns out. But rather may we as loved, worthy, and sacred people give our sacred time and energy towards the loving embrace of not only others but also ourselves, and in doing so, clothe ourselves with the loving embrace of Jesus Christ. We are called to live at a level above the basic desires of self gratification and the desires of our flesh.
We have been empowered by Christ to live with the needs of others as our top priority, with justice for the weak and hope for the hopeless as our desires.