My last post addressed Romans 13:14: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (NASB).
As I’ve meditated on that verse, I remembered what happened the other day when I made chocolate chip cookie dough. My grandson, four-year-old Raphael, pulled a chair over so that he could “look at” the rounded dough balls. I told him he wouldn’t be eating any. “I just want to see them,” he claimed.
Then within seconds, his hand was within a fraction of an inch away as he exclaimed, “Oh, they’re so cute,” acting as if he was going to pet one.
I knew where this was headed and removed the cookie pan to a safe distance. I would submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that was a lack of “making no provision for the flesh.”
Yet, aren’t we so like that? How we tempt ourselves! “I just want to look at the possibility of this sin.” “Isn’t this sin cute?” “I’ll only reach for it; I won’t touch it.” Phooey! We are setting ourselves up for a fall.
How wonderful that God’s power and grace is available to strengthen us to resist. And the key is in the first part of the verse: “put on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (NASB).
The NLT phrases it: “clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I love thinking of focusing on Jesus’s presence with me. I’m sure if I really acknowledged Jesus was right at my side when I reached for the cookie dough (symbolic of sin), I wouldn’t even try to “pet” it.
And commentator Barnes writes, “The phrase to ‘put on’ a person, which seems a harsh expression in our language, was one not infrequently used by Greek writers, and means to imbibe his principles, to imitate his example, to copy his spirit, to become like him.”
Commentator Clarke writes, “The mode of speech itself is taken from the custom of stage players; they assumed the name and garments of the person whose character they were to act, and endeavored as closely as possible to imitate him in their spirit, words, and actions.”
(These commentators are quoted at http://bible.cc/romans/13-14.htm.)
If we’re supposed to imitate Jesus, how did Jesus make no provision for the flesh? I think the underlying way is His trust in His Father’s heart. I truly believe that our sin is based in our lack of trust in God’s goodness and love. We’re saying He is withholding something good from us and therefore I must provide for myself (remind you of someone named Eve?). So I make provision for the flesh. I provide for my own needs because God won’t come through for me the way I think He should.
Think of the last time you sinned. Can you identify in what way you might have distrusted God’s goodness and how you felt you needed to provide for yourself–rather than “putting on” Jesus and making no provision for the flesh?
It’s certainly something to think about, eh?