What Must I Do?
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-14
Lately, I’ve been eating too much peanut butter. Peanuts are considered a healthy fat, so, in my addict’s thinking, if a little is good, then a lot is better, right? I started with just a spoonful in the evening. That gradually grew though, and soon, I was eating several spoonfuls – five or six hundred calories – before bed.
At the same time, I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds for an upcoming athletic competition. As my peanut butter consumption increased, my weight loss stalled and it didn’t take long to put the two together. I needed to stop the peanut butter. I’d developed a habit though. Every night, I’d repeat my loss of control and every morning, I’d lament it as I stepped on the scale. Daily, I promised I’d do better, only to repeat my failure every night. Simply deciding in my head that I was going to change didn’t lead to change.
Finally, I had it out with myself and decided I’d do whatever it took to stop eating peanut butter. What did I need to do to stop? The answer was obvious. I needed to stop buying it. So, I stopped bringing it home and now, I’m no longer eating peanut butter every night.
Abandoning my drug addiction wasn’t as simple as not buying peanut butter, but the experience had some similarities. In my disaster, I had to get to the point where I woke up and decided to do whatever it took to turn from my way to follow Christ.
This is Paul’s message in today’s passage as he insisted that we must wake from our slumber, casting off the works of darkness to live in the light. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. He said that we must now consciously choose to do whatever it takes to live as we were made to live. Cast off. Put on. These are action commands.
Often, we think change means simply deciding that we won’t do something anymore. Just deciding to live differently though isn’t a plan. It’s preparation for failure. How many of us have promised “Never Again!” only to fail repeatedly. If we want to change, we must daily go to God, asking what he wants us to do. Then we must do it.