October 19, 2018

I. Owe. You.

Romans 13:6–10

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For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

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.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

In Context:

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 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.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

I. Owe. You.



Bio | Paul Gittemeier

Thirty-eight years, two sons, two daughters, two sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, seven grandkids, and sixteen dogs ago, I married Kelly. Here’s how the Bible describes me:

  • “He who finds a wife finds a good thing . . . .” (Proverbs 18:22);
  • “The heart of her husband trusts in her . . . .” (Proverbs 31:11);
  • “[C]hildren are a heritage from the Lord . . . . Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3, 5, NIV);
  • “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged . . . .” (Proverbs 17:6);
  • “[T]he splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (Proverbs 20:29);
  • “[T]he glory of children is their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6).

(NOTE TO SELF . . . CHECK WITH THE KIDS TO CONFIRM!)

Central Truth

Love (the verb) is something we do—actions, thoughts, and words. Love (the noun) is something we enjoy, take pleasure in, or are attracted to. If done intentionally and repeatedly, the verb will produce the noun. Today’s Journey focuses on the verb.

Devotional | Romans 13:6–10

Today’s key verse describes a debt from which we will never be free—our obligation to love others. Romans 13:9 goes a step further in its command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”...

Today’s key verse describes a debt from which we will never be free—our obligation to love others. Romans 13:9 goes a step further in its command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Elsewhere in Scripture, we learn this is one of the two great commandments, right behind “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:31).

Some time ago, while reading the second-best publication of all time (Reader’s Digest), I learned there are three classes of people:  Haves, Have-Nots, and Have-Not-Paid-For-What-They-Haves. I’m all three, but let’s focus on the third. I haven’t paid for the most valuable thing I have—the fullness and freedom of a restored relationship with God, produced by His unconditional love as demonstrated through Christ’s death on the cross. My debt to Him—love others AS I LOVE MYSELF.

This is good for everyone, because I love me some me! I find self-denial counterintuitive, and I am an accomplished grace extender . . . to myself. I am gifted at evaluating me as the “game-over” version of what I wish to become, while evaluating others as just starting on their (long) journey to perfection.

Love others as I love myself? Whaaaat? Ouch! How? Here are some excellent ideas: The “One Anothers” In Scripture. (Note: I’m UNABLE to find biblical support for my all-too-familiar methods of engaging those around me: scrutinize one another, shame one another, humble one another, judge one another, marginalize one another.) Self-love is the standard for loving others. If we embrace God’s Word, we must love them as instructed.

Now back to us “Have-Not-Paid-For-What-They-Haves.” In God’s amazing way, we’re not asked to give something we haven’t freely and abundantly received, “[J]ust as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

One final observation—we often use likes, follows, and comments to our social mania posts as a means of gauging how others see us, but Jesus offers a pretty clear assessment method: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

Love others. It matters to them, and it matters to God.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

If you’re still with us, this is the section where The Journey morphs from preachin’ to meddlin’. It’s tempting to close down and move on to your next task, but please, please take one more look at this list: The “One Anothers” In Scripture. It provides fantastic marriage advice, relational hygiene instruction, and a how-to list for personal attitude adjustment.

1. If the people you encounter today loved themselves as you love them, would that be a good thing?

2. What is the difference between liking people and loving them?

3. Today’s praises are often yesterday’s prayer requests. What praises come to mind that wouldn’t be yours tomorrow unless you thanked God for them today?

4. Many great people of faith have provided simple, yet profound wisdom about loving others.

  • Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
  • Rick Warren: “The way you store up treasure in heaven is by investing in getting people there.”
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • Max Lucado: “Those in Christ’s circle had no doubt of his love; those in our circles should have no doubt about ours.”
  • A Church Sign: “That loving others thing, I meant that!” –God.

Share with us an inspirational quote about loving or serving others in the “Comments” section.

4 Comments available

Lindsey Driscoll 1 day ago

Paul, what a wonderfully full life you have with your big family! My husband wants to know about those 16 dogs though, that some love right there! I have always heard verse 13:8 go “owe no man anything except the debt to love one another.” Today I read the words CONTINUING DEBT. Wait… you mean I am called to love others continually, not just based on how they love me or when they are “easy” to love? Continual love is the Lord the father has for us, and calls us to have for one another.

Hope Harris 2 days ago

Some of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

How well am I loving others?

Sue Bohlin 2 days ago

Hi Paul! I sure enjoyed your devo—so many parts made me smile or laugh!

The command to pay to all what is owed them probably riles up a lot of people because it crashes into our desire to be independent and kings of our own little universe. But paying what is owed, whether taxes, revenue, respect or honor, is only right and good for beings created to live under authority—both divine and human. The degree to which we bristle is an indication of how far we are from God’s intention for us.

Ouch.

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

GM Paul. Awesome devo. Love your 3rd class of people. 16 dogs?

The truth of perpetual debt is amazing. It keeps me reminded of perpetual grace.

Confession: Also, sometimes it’s exhausting to think about.

Under the law it would just be plain exhausting. Period. I can’t imagine trying to take very thought captive if I believed perfection under the law was necessary, (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Conversely, I can’t imagine being unsaved and not having the amazing grace of a perpetual debt. Oh wait. Yes, I can. That’s when my addictions and other coping mechanisms come in.

Q3 – Prayers today that become praises tomorrow?

To focus on the perpetual debt that reveals amazing grace, (John 3:16) To pray my surrender prayer during the day, (Luke 22:45) To put Amy’s needs above my wants, (John 13:34-35) To seek out faith conversations, (Matthew 28:19-20) To do my work heartily, (Colossians 3:23)

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