Having experienced periods of extreme weight gain and loss due to Crohn’s disease, I have closets full of clothes in many varying sizes. I must say that, despite being inconvenient from the standpoint of the greater need that such “hoarding” produces for closet space, it is nice to know that I likely have something that will fit me regardless of the situation in which I find myself. However, now that I have been rid of my Crohn’s disease (and I pray that such will be permanent), it is time for me to work my way back down to my proper size and rid myself of the burden of needing those “bigger barns” for my clothing. I will be honest with you, though. In the back of my mind, a voice is saying, “You’ve regained that weight in the past. Once you loose the weight this time, it won’t be long until you have gained it back.” Thus, there is this temptation to hold on to every article of clothing currently hanging in the closet or crammed into a large storing bin. Yet, if I were to do so, then I would find that I have effectively sabotaged my current efforts of returning to a healthy weight; for, in holding on to my larger sized clothing once having shed the need for them, I will have made provision for becoming overweight once more. That is to say, I will make it too convenient to regain the weight.
In like manner, you and I can make the mistake of making the same type of provision for the flesh. Consider the following scenarios:
- A covetous woman, despite incurring much personal debt, may refuse to give up the credit cards that put her into debt. She feels she needs the credit card for “emergencies,” but is actually only providing herself the means whereby she may continue indulging her lust for mammon.
- A man with an Internet pornography addiction refuses to give up his computer, or, alternatively, Internet access, because he needs his computer for “business.” If true that he must have a computer or Internet access for work, he takes no steps to safeguard his eyes and heart by purchasing software capable of censoring pornographic Internet sites and refuses the assistance of an accountability partner to whom he can turn in moments of weakness. In so doing, such a man is retaining the means whereby he may once more indulge his lust of the flesh.
- An alcoholic keeps alcohol on hand for the benefit of entertaining his guests. He has no intention of drinking the alcohol himself, but then finds himself under tremendous stress. He thinks about how a drink would help him “take the edge off.” Unfortunately, as the alcohol is still in his house, it is not too long until he has “fallen off the wagon.”
- A woman feels that her husband is no longer attentive to her emotional needs. She finds a male coworker to whom she begins to confide about her troubled marriage and in whom she soon finds all solace. As she invests more and more of herself into her coworker, it is not too long until she has committed adultery with him. A lot of her relationship with this coworker was maintained through various electronic media, such as cell phones, emailing, and text messages. One day, she decides to end the relationship. Even so, the coworker’s number remains in her cell phone. She likewise still has his email address in her address book. Soon, she is feeling neglected once more. As she still has the potential for contact with her coworker, she resumes her adulterous relationship with him.
If not for the sake of brevity, certainly other situations could be presented. Yet, these are sufficient to make the point that it is far too easy for us to make provision for our flesh. We can only avoid making provision for the flesh by putting on Christ. The apostle Paul exhorts us to, “…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lusts” (Romans 13:14 NASB).
The Scriptures speak of only one way, specifically, whereby we may put on Christ and that is through baptism. Note Galatians 3:6-27:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (NKJV)
Have you put on Christ so that you might no longer give provision to the flesh? Once you do so, you will be able to become a new creature (cf., 2 Corinthians 5:17); a creature understanding the need to possess the very mindset of Christ (cf., Philippians 2:5-8).
Sometimes, it is most difficult to divest ourselves of fleshly provisions. Yet, Jesus presents the situation to us most clearly.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30 NASB).
Certainly, it would be better to live a life of total deprivation, than, having all, condemn our immortal spirit to hell! Therefore, endeavor daily to ensure that you are not somehow making a provision for your fleshly lusts.