Today in my readings Paul talks about “…behaving decently, as in the daytime” Romans 13:13. And I’m not going to say anything new here, but sometimes it bears repeating, it helps to be reminded. How many of us exhibit behaviours in the privacy of our own homes, behind the closed doors of hotel rooms, or it the darkened anonymity of bars and night clubs, behaviours that we would never want our mothers, our children, our friends to see. That’s what Paul is talking about. And he’s not just talking about our physical deeds, but our emotional ones as well, the ones we keep secret in our hearts, the jealousies, the coveting, the dissensions and grievances.
I will be the first one to admit that there are things I might say or do in my own house that I would never want other people to see or hear. Losing my temper, slamming doors, speaking badly of someone. I do them all. I forget that someone is always watching. That my actions never occur in a vacuum. That’s why Paul’s words are so important. In this letter to the Romans he is calling on them, on us, to “put aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light”. Are you asking yourself how? Or have you convinced yourself that your behaviours in those times were justified, or that they drove you to it. That they deserved what they got or that’s just how you were made.
I won’t even tell you that those things aren’t true. But part of what Paul is telling us, part of the message of Jesus, and the reason he died for us and our sins is that we are called to be better. To rise up against our own sinful nature, “the way we were made” and put aside the deeds of darkness. If you’re like me, maybe you’ve tried this before, but feel as if you always slip back, you always fall down and maybe you’ve even reached the point of giving up. I can relate. But today I’d like to tell you that we are supposed to fail, in fact we will fail every single time if we are trying to go it alone. I have come to learn that the absolute only way I can be a different person is through Christ. Time and time again the bible calls upon us to surrender ourselves to our Father in heaven. But we are so stubborn, so determined to have our independence that we refuse, we protest the freedom and light that is offered to us freely. But that’s okay. Because our time here on earth is about that journey. About gaining a gradual understanding of the power of the life and death and love of Jesus Christ and God our Father.
So if there is a darkness in your heart or a heaviness in your spirit, know that you don’t have to shine a light on it yourself, you don’t have to carry the burden, because there is someone greater than you who will happily do it for you. Someone who wants to do it for you. All you have to do is ask.