Make no provision for the flesh

The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Rome,

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  (Romans 13)

What it means to put on the Lord Jesus Christ

Two verses earlier, Paul wrote, “So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Verse 14, then, is further explanation of what that means.  The Christian life involves removing the old and replacing it with the new.  Before Christ, the sinner wanted nothing to do with the true God and only wanted to sin against Him.  After believing in Jesus and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the old man is being replaced by the new man.  By His grace, we are continually turning away from our old godless selves to our new lives in Christ.  We are metaphorically taking off our old garments and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ as our armor.

What it means to make no provision for the flesh

In the New Testament, the flesh most often refers to our sinfulness.  Though Christians have been made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, sin still lingers, and we continue to make war against it until we’re home in heaven or until He returns.  We are to make no provision for it.  The word translated “provision” is related to forethought.  We are to give no thought to flesh.  We aren’t to heed its call.

What it means to gratify its desires

The flesh is always calling us to thoughts and acts that are in conflict with the Holy Spirit.  When we give in to temptation, we are gratifying its desires.  Gratifying its desires is a result of making provision for the flesh.  If we flirt with temptation or if we entertain sinful thoughts, we are prone to gratifying the desires of our flesh.

How this verse applies to us

In 1 Corinthians 10:14, after Paul has just promised in verse 13 that no temptation has overtaken the Corinthians believers that is uncommon to man and that God is faithful, always giving the way of escape to stand up under sin, he exhorts them to “flee from idolatry”.  Just because we are always given the support we need to fight temptation doesn’t mean that we should look for temptation.  Instead, we should flee from it.  Just as Joseph ran off without his cloak to flee from sexual temptation, so should we flee from tempting situations.  Alcoholics shouldn’t spend time in bars, husbands shouldn’t be in compromising situations with other women, and we should all be cautious about being unequally yoked.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to remove our old garments and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

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