We do ourselves a great disservice when we focus on the sins and issues of those around us and neglect our own bouts with sin. Yes, it is easy to focus our eyes on others even though God is the only one who can the heart. This will always be detrimental to our spiritual growth if we refuse to seek God daily, and then look within to measure whether our steps are by faith and in obedience to God.
I think our biggest problem is that we lure ourselves into believing that obedience to a few things in God’s word through self effort makes us righteous. Common are the sins laid out in verse 9; we think…
· I don’t commit adultery
· I haven’t killed anyone
· I don’t steal
· I don’t bear false witness
· I don’t covet…
but the truth according to God’s Word is some can refrain from these things without having the love we are to have for our neighbor. And trust me when I tell you – don’t pat yourself on the back if these aren’t your sin issues because there are way more sins in our lives than we care to admit. Without the foundation of biblical love which 1 Corinthians 13 lays out as charity, all claims to righteousness are just acts of will-power, and God doesn’t reward works that are done outside of faith or His Spirit.
Verse 10 says plainly that when we really and truly love people the way God has told us to love people, not only are we fulfilling a law and command, but we are dead to sin by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in the way that we should go and behave. As our spiritual parent, there is nothing more beautiful to God than looking at his child emulate his character.
Verse 14 sums up the whole matter of chapter 13 which is this: when we walk in the Spirit of God we starve the desires and lusts of our flesh. Like our bodies, starve it long enough and eventually it shuts down and dies. This is exactly what we want to occur with our carnal-minded flesh.
Are you ready to die today?
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law… 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.Romans 13:9-10, 14