Focus: Rom 13:8-14
Your legacy is the footprint in the sand that you leave behind the journey of life. Some people leave footprints filled with bounce and joy in the company of others. Others leave a legacy that looks like a monster came out of the deep and tore up the beach. You create your legacy in relationships and your impact on others. It is what will be said or not said at your funeral. It is about the lives that you touched and the people you helped. I am a Christian, so what? Paul seems to say in this section that we need to leave a legacy of love. Jesus has touched our lives with His love and gave us the chance to reach others with His love.
You build that legacy by being known for an attitude of love. v. 8 Love is a debt that we can never repay to God. It is a debt He wants us to repay forward to others that he loves. It is as if God is saying to us, “As I have loved you, now go and be kind to one another.” No one can repay God for the cross or even for all the things He does for us each day. Instead, we pay it forward to our fellow Christians and to the stranger I meet on the street. If we love others each day, you begin to surround yourself with an aura of love. People want to be around you because they sense you care. Soon people will love and care for you back.
Having such love is not easy. We have to let the Lord get rid of the things not compatible with love (v.13) and clothe us with a love that comes only from Him (v. 14). All of us have a darkness buried deep in our soul. We have jealousies and anger over past hurt. Paul would have us open ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that He can purge us from such things so that they don’t destroy us or others. In their place, the Holy Spirit can fill us with characteristics of Christ-like joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. We trust God to take care of us so that we can have the freedom love others without being worried if we will get something back.
The time for such love is now (v.11). Your legacy is the sum of your life. It is not something that you can do in the last moments of life. It is the daily investing in people who can be changed or helped by your love. It is living with a quality that shows everyone that you belong to Christ. It isn’t a chore but is an opportunity to feel good about yourself and to have others who will feel that love and love you back. What does it mean to be a Christian? Paul would tell us to have a legacy of love. Shower others with love and enjoy it when others love you back. Sharing love through your actions and by witnessing to Jesus so others can feel the love from the cross is what you were reborn as a Christian to do.