As the new year begins we’re reminded of the Latin phrase, “Tempus Fugit.” Time flies.
“The bad news is time flies,” observed entrepreneur Michael Alshuler. ”The good news is you’re the pilot.”
It seems as you grow older you become more aware of the rapid passage of time. Or in the words of the philosopher Dr. Seuss, “How did it get so late so soon?”
Like most great men, the apostle Paul was keenly aware of the limited time he had to minister. In his writing, there is an urgency to “make the most of your opportunities.” “To redeem the time.” And to realize that “today is the day of salvation.”
In this passage Paul reminds us as one writer expressed it, ‘to wake up, clean up and dress up.”
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom 13:11-14)
If we’re not careful, there is a tendency to put off doing what we know we ought to do. To procrastinate. To lapse into a spiritual lethargy. To rationalize that “one day I will get my life right with God.” Paul is saying, “Wake up!” That day is now. It will soon be too late.
I recall visiting a man years ago whose wife was a Christian, but he was not. He attended with her, but never obeyed. When I inquired about his intentions, he replied that he would obey the gospel one day. I asked, “When?” He didn’t know. He was in his 70’s. I asked, “When are you going to die?” He looked shocked. And, of course, couldn’t answer the question. I told him now was the time to become a Christian before it’s too late. I wish the story had a happy ending. But it doesn’t
The same can be said for those who claim to be Christians, but not living like a Christian. You need to wake up. And clean up your life. Paul identifies six sins that characterize a Christless life. Revelry. Drunkenness. Immorality. Shamelessness. Contention. And envy.
We live in a wicked world. One that knows no shame for any action no matter how bizarre. Our challenge is to resist conformity to our culture and be transformed to be like Christ. It’s too easy to go with the flow and become like everyone else around us. Wake up! And clean up your life.
Then we need to dress up, spiritually speaking. Paul exhorts us to “put on Christ.” Other versions render this “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” But this is not like putting on a jacket on a cold day, then taking it off when it warms up. Clothing ourselves with Christ is not just meant for a worship service. But it is our daily attire. 24/7.
To clothe ourselves like Christ is to put on kindness, compassion, and concern for others. It is to wear the attire of righteousness, godliness, and sobriety. It is to be arrayed with His attitude that issues itself in actions appropriate to our holy calling.
Finally, there’s no time or place for “provisions for the flesh.” Don’t look back. Burn the bridges that connect you to evil companions, unholy alliances, and corrupt conduct.
May we all be impressed with the urgency of doing what is right. Now.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman