Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Is the night really far gone? Is the day really so near? Are we truly nearer to salvation than when we first became believers? Such questions are fit for Advent. They’re nothing new. And, in fact, such questions didn’t disappear with Jesus, for clearly Paul wrote these words for a reason. We know we are supposed to live honorably rather than in excess or revelry. We know that we are to be peaceable people rather than those who quarrel and are jealous of one another. The truth is, though, we must be reminded. In a world plagued by sin and death, nice guys and gals often really do finish last. This should not be all that disheartening, for after all, our Savior seemed to finish last, at least in the eyes of the world. In reality, though, it can be quite disheartening to do the right thing and watch others climb ahead of you. Though we were made for goodness, it doesn’t come easily to us. We have to be reminded of its rewards – that goodness is its own reward. And such goodness is perfectly seen in Christ Jesus. Paul, along with the other writers of our Scriptures, is quick to encourage the followers of Christ who each, in their own way, learn to think, act, and be counter to the “ways of the world.” Such activity can often seem backward not only to friends and family, but even to believers themselves. It’s helpful to be reminded of the purpose for such activity and endurance.
Are there ways that you act counter to the culture around you because of the Gospel? Do you sometimes feel odd for acting in such a way? You’re not alone. List examples today of recent personal decisions, actions, or thoughts that have made you feel a bit odd or possibly even ostracized from friends, family, and those around you. Praise God for the wisdom and courage to be different. Finally, take a moment to consider whether or not these personal decisions, actions, and/or thoughts are truly are in keeping with God’s will, or simply your own? Listen and pay attention for God’s answers. Listen and pay attention to the sage advice and opinion of Godly mentors and pastors on this matter as well. Regular, critical self-reflection is key to a life of holiness.