RESET: Priority. Putting on the Armor of Light

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daily text logoDecember 20, 2014

Romans 13:11-14

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when 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 carousing 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.

RESET

fixedO.K., so I got ahead of myself. There was one more classic Advent repentance text I wanted to share before we get back on the donkey and cruise into Bethlehem for the big day.

I have always loved this text shared above. The imagery of the armor of light captures me.

Repentance looks like putting on the armor of light.

As John teaches us in his famous sermon we know as 1 John.

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Remember in John’s Gospel after Jesus washed his disciples feet he said to them, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35.

As Jesus took off his outer robe and stooped to wash feet, the Holy Spirit was armoring him in Light.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 1 John 2:7-11.

Again in the celebrated fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel Jesus brings it all down to one command. “This is my command,” he says, “Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” v.12

As Jesus was stripped of his robe and nailed to a cross, the Holy Spirit was armoring him in Light.

It strikes me as the simple logic of an obvious insight: If there is only one command, there is only one sin. If the one command is to “love one another as I have loved you,” the one sin would be the failure to “love one another as I have loved you.”

Sin is always personal and always relational. Sin is never private and never individual. Sin always wants to hide alone. Love always wants to make itself known to others. Sin is darkness. Love is Light. Sin is death. Love is Life.

Repentance is the Life of Love breaking forth in Light. It’s walking in the Light in the armor of Light.

Sin can no longer be thought of as a personal “moral failure” or an individual’s “bad behavior.” It is far worse than this. Sin is the failure of love and it always does violence to someone else. Sin blinds us to others by deceiving us into believing that our sin is about us.

To regain our priority, to seek the Kingdom and his righteousness, to have the mind of Christ in us, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, to put on the armor of Light. . . . all of this and more comes from the simple, consistent and continuous act of repentance which is turning toward Love. Let’s give John the last word before Bethlehem.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12. 

Real repentance always reveals holy love. And it’s always as close as the person closest to you right now. Time to armor up.

PEOPLE GET READY! JESUS IS COMING.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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