by Andrew Cromwell
Romans 13:8 gives us some incredibly practical advice when it says, "Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law."
The first thing we see in this verse is that we are to owe nothing to anyone. This simply means we need to pay our debts. As Americans, we have a terrible habit of getting ourselves into financial debt. The Scriptures say that the debtor is the slave to the lender. How well most of us know that feeling! Every day as we head off to work, we are spurred on by the pressing realization that, if we don't, our creditors—our credit card company, our mortgage company, our furniture store, our home improvement store, our car loan—will hound and harass us until we pay up. We have handed our freedom over because of our inability to say "no" to our list of wants.
But it is not only money that we owe. We have made promises and commitments. We have given our word. We have said things and our utterances have become promissory notes that remain outstanding and require payment. Too often we let things slide off our tongue without realizing that we are actually creating emotional and relational debt. If we do not "pay up" then we leave a wreckage of relationships scattered in our wake.
The second thing we see is there is a debt we can never hope to repay in its entirety. It is a debt we will pay on for the rest of our life. This debt is our call to love others. We owe it because of Jesus Christ's love for us. His love makes it possible for us to once again have a relationship with Father God. He gave His life that we might have life, both in the here and now and also forever into eternity.
Paying off our financial debts is a piece of cake compared to this debt. To love others requires us to put others first. It requires us to set aside our personal wishes and put the wishes of another in their place. It requires us to die to our selfish desires and motives.
Choosing to really love other people is the hardest thing you will ever do.
Love requires us to forgive again and again.
Love demands that we see others with God's eyes.
Love screams self-sacrifice.
Love is tough.
You and I are not here on this planet just for ourselves. If we spend our lives seeking our personal goals and fulfilling all of our desires, then we will come to the end of our lives empty and we will walk into the next world sorely lacking. Real happiness can only be obtained if our goal is not happiness in itself. Don't seek happiness, seek service and you will find happiness on the way.
It's time for all of us to pay up. As we do, we will suddenly find that we have "fulfill[ed] the requirements of God's law".
The pastors of Kings County would love to help you get your accounts in order. Why don't you pay one of them a visit this weekend? You might just discover that true joy meets you on the way.