“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. 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. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:11-14 ESV).
Verse 14 is a special verse and I don’t want you to miss it. God has used this verse in my life as it gives a tip for how to do all this. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).
The flesh. The flesh is not our physical flesh but that aspect of our sin nature that is set against God and his will in our lives. This internal enemy that is with us all the time—indwelling sin. You know what I’m talking about. It wars against the spiritual us and seeks to undermine God’s good work in us.
The flesh has desires that it subtly inserts into our affections. Paul describes it in chapter 7:19 as, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” That is when the flesh wins.
Putting on Jesus is the offense. But here we have a clue for a great defense. “Make no provision for the flesh.” (Romans 13:14)
The Greek word for provision has the sense of foresight. Seeing something in advance. Making no provision for the flesh is to see in advance when and where my sin nature is going to exert itself. Perhaps situations where I have fallen before. Or temptations that I am struggling with mentally, where if given the chance, I could compromise. “Make no provision.” Don’t go there. Don’t do that. Know yourself well enough to not put yourself in places where you may likely fall into sin.
When the forecast is rain, you make provision and bring an umbrella. When it’s snow, you put on boots and a heavier coat. When it comes to the flesh and sin, make NO provision. Give no quarter. Don’t even begin to create a scenario that will make it easy to sin. Actually, try and create situations where it’s hard to sin. Know yourself. We all have weaknesses. Maybe a past besetting sin. Maybe a present temptation. Deal radically with it, don’t coddle it. Don’t nurse it along. Deal radically with it. How?
We are to flee temptation. Can you get out of the situation? I find if I can talk freely about it, I’m not likely to sin in that area. But when I want to hide it or I could never speak of it, sin has its grip on me. Jesus urged us to deal radically with temptation. Remember his illustration about gouging out your eyes. Is there some radical “amputation” you could employ? Eliminate the friendship. Drop your cable TV. Stop driving by that billboard. Block that site. Get accountability with a fellow Christian. But when you hide it, beware.
Young people, there are so many situations you find yourself in where there is much provision for the flesh. That party you were invited to and you know what’s going on there. A particular group that is known in the school for doing this or that, nothing good. They want you to hang out with them. What are you going to do?
Make no provision for the flesh. Proverbs says, the wise man sees danger and flees. Is that online thing worth the visual temptations? Is that entertainment choice drawing you closer to God? Is that whatever causing you to love Jesus more? “Make no provision.” We want to make it as hard as we can to sin. We want to make it as easy as we can to put on Jesus. How might he use these words in us today?
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2020 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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