"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts."
- Romans 13:14 NKJV
Years ago, the Lord taught me a valuable lesson about temptation, using a coffee cake. Friends had come calling one day, and they had presented my family and me with a delectable coffee cake upon their arrival. After they departed that evening, the remaining cake was left on our kitchen counter. When I got up the next day, I found a good portion of the leftover cake gone, with a knife laying next to it on the counter. All of a sudden, that cake looked irresistible to me, and I had to have a piece. Throughout the day, I couldn't help but notice that almost every time someone came into the kitchen and saw that knife laying next to the cake, they walked over to it and hacked off a piece. Realizing what was happening, I took the knife away, and sure enough, my family and I suddenly lost interest in that cake.
The Lord impressed upon me that leaving that knife next to that cake was a good example of making "provision for the flesh," which is the opposite of what Scripture commands us to do. Suddenly, I began thinking of all the ways that we trip ourselves up by leaving ourselves open to temptations of all kinds. For instance, if we have a tendency to eat the wrong things, we are just asking for trouble if we buy unhealthy foods that we can't resist when we go grocery shopping. If we really want to "make no provision for the flesh," then we will pass those tempting items by when we see them in the grocery store, and we will NOT bring them home with us. Whenever my husband, Joe, and I are in a supermarket, and I see him pick up a fattening, high calorie snack, I tell him, "If you don't bring it into the house, you can't be tempted by it." Almost every time, he'll put the item back on the shelf.
If someone has a tendency to overindulge in alcohol, then they need to steer clear of the bar scene. Even so-called "social drinking" or "happy hour" could put them over the edge, and should be avoided. I hear from a lot of people who fall into sin because of their use of the internet. Sometimes it's pornography that has a grip on them. Other times, it's improper communication with someone who is not their spouse. I tell these people that they may have to do something drastic, like get rid of their computers, in order to break away from the sin that has a hold on them. When Jesus talks about cutting off our hands or feet if they tend to lead us into sin, He's not talking about actually maiming ourselves. He's telling us that there will be times when we will have to take radical steps to separate ourselves from sin. (Matthew 18:7-9) We may have to give up some of our friendships or associations. Or we may have to stop frequenting certain places that we like to go to.
The Living Bible translation of Romans 13:14 says: "Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help you live as you should, and don't make plans to enjoy evil." If we ask the Lord what we need to do to break free from the sin in our lives that is hindering us from fulfilling our God-given potential, He will show us what steps to take, and He will empower us to take them. The Lord doesn't expect perfection, but He does require our cooperation. As we follow His plan for victory, He will give us Spirit-inspired strategies and solutions that will help us gain the freedom that belongs to us in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, please show me any way that I might be sabotaging my efforts to become all that You created me to be. Work in my heart until I'm willing to do whatever it takes to please and glorify You. Thank You that as I "make no provision for the flesh," I will walk in the freedom and victory you bought for me on Calvary!
- J. M. Farro