Monday, October 14, 2013

Make No Provision for the Flesh

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

Do you sometimes wonder why your struggle with sin is so strong? Are you at a loss as to where your temptations are coming from? Does the fight just seem to hit you when you're weakest?

The solution to our sin is always the gospel, because no matter how many strategies we learn we are never strong enough to fight on our own. But in Christ we are new creations, and by the Holy Spirit we can fight our sin with the MANY strategies He has given us! One insight that could help turn the tide for you is beginning to see where you are making provision for sin. Sin doesn't just "happen" with no context. For our repeated struggles there is a complex structure of causes: a supply-chain. So the question becomes: Where is your supply chain? And how can you rain down destruction and interrupt that system?

We are not ignorant of Satan's schemes (2 Cor 2:11), so we can aptly prepare for those dangerous killzones. WHEN will you be tempted? Prepare yourself for those times, maybe text some friends for accountability and ask them to check in during that time. WHERE will you be tempted? Is there a particular space that often is harder? Prepare for that time, remove opportunity for temptation. Avoid situations before you even get in them. This requires wisdom.

Ask yourself: HOW are you providing for your flesh? How are you giving opportunity and creating a space for your sin to thrive? Every little bit adds up. Maybe you don't yet feel convicted by your sin because "Well, it's not TOO bad" and you're just feeding it in little ways each day. But those little things add up, and they do damage to your soul. You're making provision. You're outfitting your sin to be stronger. It's like giving them little snacks that sustain their life. We need to be starving out our sin. 

Romans 13:14 calls us to do TWO things: To remove the opportunities for the flesh, and to put on Christ instead. Basically it's the Bible's call of put off/put on.

Just get rid of things. It isn't worth it.
  • Romance books causing you to be discontent and fantasize? Throw them out. 
  • Xbox giving opportunity for escapism through video games instead of finding comfort in the Lord? Take a fast for a season and give your power cord to a friend. 
  • Struggling with internet pornography? Get a filter, and get some accountability, or simply remove your laptop, smartphone, tablets from your room altogether and give them to your roommate for the evening. 
  • Tempted to go towards food as comfort instead of the Lord? Throw out Ben & Jerry's from your fridge, and ask your roommates to keep you accountable

Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It IS worth it.
  • Schedule a time to get in the Word each day. If you don't feel like it, just force feed yourself the Word. Spend regular time in prayer. Create a supply chain for Jesus. 
  • Write reminders of Jesus and His promises. Write them on sticky notes, or your iPhone reminders app, or your mirror, or your desktop wallpaper, or posters around your room. Speak them to yourself. 
  • Commit yourself to regular church involvement. Not just every Sunday but connecting relationally to other church members so they can encourage and exhort you. Invite folks into your life. Hear truth preached from the Bible each week. Get involved in a deeper small group Bible study. Make provision for TRUTH and the work of the Holy Spirit. 
Just as every little bit of sin adds up in making provision for the flesh, so every little bit of putting on Christ adds up to make provision for the Holy Spirit. Do not grow weary! Endure in repentance. 

Fighting the supply chain,
The Relentless Fight