Ernest Hemingway was asked if he could write a compelling story in six words. His response: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Hemingway’s story is powerful because it inspires us to fill in the details. Were the shoes simply not needed by a healthy child? Or was there a tragic loss—something requiring God’s deep love and comfort?
The best stories pique our imagination, so it’s no surprise that the greatest story ever told stokes the fires of our creativity. God’s story has a central plot: He created all things; we (the human race) fell into sin; Jesus came to Earth and died and rose again to save us from our sins; and we now await His return and the restoration of all things.
Knowing what has come before and what lies ahead, how should we now live? If Jesus is restoring His entire creation from the clutches of evil, we must “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). This includes turning from sin by God’s power and choosing to love Him and others well (vv. 8–10).
The specific ways we fight with Jesus against evil will depend on what gifts we have and what needs we see. Let’s use our imagination and look around us. Let’s seek out the wounded and weeping, and extend God’s justice, love, and comfort as He guides us.
Father, may Your kingdom come and may it come in me.
In Romans 13, Paul describes the type of response Christians should have toward governing authorities, which includes submitting to them and paying taxes. Why? Because God has established these authorities (vv. 1–7). He then goes on to stress that we are to “let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (v. 8). By loving one another we fulfill the law summed up in the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (vv. 9–10).
Paul provides an additional reason why we are to love and why we are to strive to follow the principles for godly living described in chapters 12–13. “Because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (13:11). The time of Christ’s second coming, His return to earth, is nearer every day. Thus, we’re to “behave decently” and “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 13–14).