Romans 13:8-14 (NRSV)
Verse 8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Verse 9The 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, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Verse 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Verse 11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; Verse 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; Verse 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Verse 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
St. Paul argues that there is an attitude that should characterize the shared life of Christians. It does not come to us naturally, unfortunately—“Love one another.” Paul also wants us to know that love is not about “nots”—as in not committing adultery, not murdering one another, etc. Murder and adultery are never recommended; but not doing something is not yet love. There are “shalls” too—as in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And loving your neighbor is not about your frame of mind. It is nice to have nice thoughts about one another. But nice attitudes are not yet love.
Love is action. It is deference. It bears, hopes, and believes things. Love is counting one another as better than ourselves. It is seeing every neighbor as a member of our family.
Most of all, love is “putting on the Lord Jesus”— soaking up his love for us, that we might share his love with one another.
Give me grace to “put on the Lord Jesus.” Help me to soak in his love for a while today—that I might share his love with others. Amen.