Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
It all comes back to love doesn’t it? It’s interesting that Paul says that “love” is a debt… a continuing debt or obligation to love one another.
Love—it’s the one debt that is always outstanding and Paul says it’s an obligation! Just like your utilities, your car payment, or your mortgage, we’re to consistently and regularly pay our obligations. It seems trivial to compare love for others to the debts we owe – and yes, you really can’t compare them to love—but I think Paul is more concerned with our actions.
For example: people work diligently to pay their mortgage off early, they are willing to make huge scarifies to do it! I think Paul wants us to have the same kind of fervor as we love our neighbors—as we live with the people God has put around us.
A mortgage will one day be paid off, and it will be something that we can look forward to as having completed, but not so with our love for others! It’s a debt that we can never pay off, because Christ has already paid it. The fact is, we we’re incapable of paying it off.
Think about what has been done for us. Sometimes people may give their lives willingly for ones they deem as worthy—a friend, a relative, other “good” people—but Christ’s love goes beyond that. Christ’s love extends to those most unworthy of it: that’s you and me. He willingly took the punishment of those who tortured Him, hated Him, rebelled against Him, and cared nothing about Him, those who were most undeserving of His love (Romans 5:6-8). He gave the most He could give for those who deserved it the least! Paul wants us to have this same kind of sacrificial love; it’s the essence of godly love—Christ-like love—agape love. This is the God-like love that Paul is telling us to never pay off.
Christ love compels us to love! If we do not love people with the same, if not more, fervor we work at paying our debts then we’re missing the mark. It ought to be an indication that something is wrong, like a check engine light on the dash of your car. If we’re going to grow in Christ-likeness, then we must love our neighbor, as Scripture commands, even though we will always fall short of the love required of us; ‘that perpetual debt of love’ will remain.
So, how are you doing at loving those around you with a Christ-like kind of love? Is there someone in your life that you’ve said to yourself, “I have loved him or her enough, I’m done.”? If you could talk to Paul right now, what do you think he would say to you?
Ask God to give you a heart for others… ask him to help you love with a Christ-like love.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.