The King Is Coming Paula Fontana Qualls September 1, 2004 Romans 13:11-14 “The King is coming, the King is coming,” we shout and sing during this season of Advent. “The King is here,” we proclaim. “The King died on a cross,” we remember. The King calls us to do the same. The cross is a vivid picture of dying to self and living a new life in Christ. In this passage, we are called to this new life – to be clothed in Christ – to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” But what does this look like? The one clothed in Christ is alert, awake, careful, expectant (v. 11), wearing “the armor of light”(v.12), walking properly (v.13), and disciplined (v. 14). Clearly, the military metaphors convey a battle that will not be easy. The world around us constantly beckons us in the opposite direction of self-indulgence and self-gratification. The one clothed in Christ is disciplined. This means, they will always be going against the grain. Dallas Willard describes such a person as standing “out in a group with all the obtrusiveness of a sore thumb . . . for he or she will not be living on the same terms as the others.”2 The one clothed in Christ is a person of character and integrity on the job and at home. They value family life over promotions and self-glorification; they care more about prayer than work or leisure; they do what is right rather than whatever gets them what they want. This is never easy. I remember when my 2 year old son followed me into the lazy river when we were on vacation one year. I stepped into the water and he jumped in (without a floatation device). The current was pulling me away from him as I watched him jump. I shouted at other family members and pushed with all my might against the current to rescue my son. Instantly, he was safe in my arms. Going against the grain is never easy, but always worth it. This is what it is like for the one who is clothed in Christ. This passage marks a turning point – a critical choice to “throw off” laziness and sleep and live a new and disciplined life. Can you imagine a professional ballerina lying on the couch eating bon bons for days prior to her performance? Or a star basketball player refusing to practice just weeks before the final game of the season? Or a lawyer napping when he is supposed to be preparing his closing arguments for the most important case of his career? Or a surgeon indulging in substance abuse just prior to performing brain surgery? Ridiculous? Absolutely. Just as these professionals “clothe” themselves in preparation for their tasks, we too must clothe ourselves as followers of our Lord. How can this be done? There are some practical steps that we can take to clothe ourselves. 1. Begin the day by praying a prayer of surrender, perhaps the Lord’s prayer, the 23rd Psalm, or Ephesians 6:10-20. 2. Offer up prayers of surrender throughout the day – when the phone rings, someone knocks at the door, you must deal with someone at work, you talk with your children, spouse, parent, or roommate. 3. Read and memorize scripture – recite it throughout the day; place index cards in key places with scripture or insight. 4. Practice other spiritual disciplines such as meditation, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, worship.3 5. Read books on spiritual growth such as Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart, The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee or countless others. 6. Establish an accountability relationship where confession, confrontation, and mutual love and support abound. 7. Rest in God’s grace and trust that he will keep you as you clothe yourself by placing yourself in his presence through these disciplines. The King is here and he died so that he might live through you and me. In this season of Advent, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, will you clothe yourself in Christ so that the King might reign in you? ——————2. Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002), 48. 3. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988._____________ Sermon brief provided by: Paula Fontana Qualls, Professor of Religion, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.