Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.Romans 13:8-10
Love is not about looking after our own interests. Whenever we talk about how someone loves a significant other or a friend, it is often summed up by listing out the things they do for their loved one. That’s because, at its core, love is self-sacrificing. When we love someone, we will be willing to sacrifice in order to show our love to them.
Similarly, in this passage, Paul explains that in order to be a responsible, respected, honored, and valued member of any community, there are some things to take into consideration.
The first is we must be willing to look after the needs of those within our community before we look after ourselves. These can be physical needs where we care for those who are hungry, poor, forgotten, or downtrodden.
Another is by looking after their spiritual needs. It is not just the responsibility of pastors or ministers to care for those around us. Rather, we are all to help those in spiritual need by sharing our faith with those around us, encouraging and admonishing those who are in the Lord, and simply being there for those in distress.
With these considerations, we cannot have a one-foot-in mentality. Rather, we must be all in for Christ and his church. When we follow Christ, we are to forsake the things of this world so we are not dragged down by them. When we follow after our own sin or the things of this world, we can often undo the work of other Christians or even our own work by damaging the reputation of Christ’s church. Therefore, we must do our best to follow God’s commandments. When we do so, then we are deciding ahead of time what we will do in any situation. Instead of following our own desires, we will seek after the desires of God and care for the people around us.
This week, if there are those around you in physical or spiritual need, find ways to follow the example of Christ and be self-sacrificial in how you care for them.