I have recently been putting a Bible verse into practice – seeking to understand it and make it so real in my life that it would pop into my head every time I slip away from my resolution to make it real.  For Christians, this information is vital.  For non-Christians, I hope you won’t go away just because I mentioned the Bible.  The concept is still helpful — i.e. garbage in, garbage out.

The verse is Romans 13:14:  “But put ye on  the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Part one we will deal with in a future post; today I want to look at “make not provision for the flesh.”

The small decisions.

It is often the small decisions, the one’s that don’t really seem to matter that lead us down that road to full out surrender to sin.  If Satan were not subtle, we would run in the other direction.  He is very subtle and likes to masquerade as an ‘angel of light’.  In other words, he knows how to make the counterfit seem like the best thing.

A testimony

I hope this won’t run anyone off, but I want to share with you the story of a time when I went down a road I would have sworn I would never go down.  I won’t give all the details, so relax.  As a 17/18 yo, I had lost my grandmother and moved away from where I grew up.  I had always loved the Lord and sought to serve Him.  During this time, however, I struggled.  One night, I was supposed to go to a youth event at my church.  A boy I’d recently met asked me to go out with him that night.  Bad decision.  I continued to see this boy, even though I knew it wasn’t the right guy.  Bad decision.  One night he convinced me to go to a dance with him (I did not want to go) and told me he would not drink if I went, so I went.  Bad decision.  He drank.  In anger, I had a few drinks too.  Bad decision.  That night, my bad decisions came to fruition and I gave myself to this boy resulting in pregnancy.  Bad decision.

It may not seem that missing that one night could have led to this, and in such a short time, but it did.  The good news is that it woke me up.  I did, however, make another choice that probably wasn’t a good one.  I decided to marry the boy and try to cover up my sin.  Did I mention my dad was a pastor, and I had no idea how I was going to tell them what I’d done?  I made a few more bad decisions before it was over, but God had been there all the time and He used that bad to bring good into my life:  my son!  This is not something I am proud of, but it actually brought me to a point where I got real with God.  I understood finally what it meant to be forgiven because I knew what a sinner I was.

So what?

Since that time, I have certainly made more bad choices, but I have made every attempt to never stray so far from God again.  I ask Him to take ahold of my hand (like a toddler) and yank me back if I ever step one foot off the path.  So far, He has held on to me.  But, there have been sins that have beset me.  You know the small, Christian, overlooked sins.  All sins are sin and, while I have had a lot of victory, I still have areas where I am not fully free.

You too?

I also see this struggle in everyone around me.  I was taught that I should run from sin, but no one ever really taught me how to do that.  How do we do that?  By making no provision.

Making no what?

Making no provision (no plans to satisfy) for the flesh starts with those small decisions.  Suppose I am an alcoholic.  I become clean, repent, go to a 12 step group, etc., but I keep a cabinet full of liquor in my home “just in case”.  If we make the decisions to get rid of the stuff and stop going to places, hanging with people, or doing things that lead us to drink, we will be much more likely to abstain from the sin.

Suppose you are a teenager and you spend a lot of time alone with your girlfriend.  When you don’t make the decision to guard yourselves by not being alone, not putting yourself in a position to sin, you are much more likely to give in to the temptations.

Do you mean what I know?

I hope that is making sense, because it is a simple concept and yet it is a complex concept.  When I want to avoid a sin, especially the ones that are my particular achilles heel, I need to not only ‘make no provision’, I need to make provision for NOT doing it.  I change what I have to change to make sure I don’t put myself in a position where giving in is possible.

It starts where?

Making no provison starts in your mind.  Thoughts of the sin/temptation will flit into your head.  Yell STOP! and distract yourself by reading scripture, praying or just doing something else you enjoy or calling an accountability partner.  It is not sin to have thoughts flit through your head.  It is when you hang on to those thoughts, chew on them, meditate on them, that you convince yourself that you cannot resist the temptation and eventually, make provision to satisfy that desire.

What’s garbage in/garbage out got to do with it?

Do you have something you do that you would rather not do?  If we put things in our minds that feed this desire, we are more likely to give in.  We have to make a plan about what we will and will not allow into our minds.  Sin, or wrongs begin in our mind long before our body acts on it.

In what ways do you make provision for the flesh?

What things can you change so you do not make provision for the flesh?

As a New Year’s Resolution, what is one thing you can do to stop putting the garbage in?

Do you have an example of how making one change led to freedom?