Making Provision - Week of December 13th

By Judy Nichols

December 13, 2015

We are in the thick of the holiday season right now. Thanksgiving is just behind us; Christmas and New Years are still ahead. Making provision is what we area all about in these days. We buy big turkeys and pumpkin for pies, we bake things ahead and clean the house. We buy and/or make presents for loved ones near and far, wrap them, mail them, and sometimes even go into debt for them. We decorate our homes, ourselves, and our cookies. Making provision seems like a full-time job in this season.

So when Paul says at the end of Romans 13 to "put on Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires," I have to wonder. I don’t know about you, but for me, gratifying the desires of my flesh is not something I have to premeditate or work at doing. My fleshly actions and reactions happen far too easily and far too often to have to worry about making provision for them. How I wish it were otherwise!

Prior to coming into a saving relationship with Jesus, our sinful nature was the controlling factor in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we had no choice but to obey the dictates of our flesh. But in the sixth chapter of Romans Paul laid out quite thoroughly how the death of Christ rendered our sin nature powerless. And because His death was our death spiritually, we need no longer be controlled by the flesh. Easier said than done.

The sin nature is still there; the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil are still very real. So how do we "make no provision" to gratify our fleshly desires? I believe the answer is in the first part of Romans 13:14: "Put on Jesus Christ." Like I put on my clothes every morning, I am to remember and live by the truth that I have been set free from sin’s control. I am to live in such close fellowship with Christ that His character be comes my character. The fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – will be exhibited in my life as I present myself to Him to obey His commands and yield myself to His sanctifying work in my life.

Somehow it seems like this will take a lot more premeditation than it takes to let my flesh run amok, but the end result is so worth it. Romans six ends with the sobering words, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (6:23). I want my provision-making to end up at the right goal: the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus made the ultimate provision for that but I have a part to play, as well. I want to put my efforts into making provision for that day and none other.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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