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August 5, 2010 • By Ed Wrather08.05.10
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. - Romans 13:11-14.
Since Jeanie is no longer working, and at least for now is retired, she has more time to do some of the things that she loves. One of those loves is flowers, and she has a renewed interest in filling our flower bed with beautiful plants that she has not had time for in a long time. Jeanie has patiently watered, fertilized, and cared for her flowers. While she was at camp a couple of weeks ago I watered her flowers. Today, she came in from caring for her flowers telling me disappointedly, that one of the flowers is not a flower at all…it is a weed! I am not sure what kind of weed, but it is, nevertheless, a weed, and has been removed from the midst of the beautiful flowers. That weed will be watered no more!
The works of the "flesh" and the "works of darkness" could be compared to weeds. Instead of weeds in a flower bed, they are weeds in our lives. The apostle Paul lists some of these works of the flesh and darkness in Romans 13, of course it is not a comprehensive list; but it does give us some idea of what these works are like. The list that Paul gives us briefly here is that of revelry, drunkenness, lewdness, lust, strife, and envy.
Paul says in Romans 13:14 that we should "make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." The NIV translates this as "do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." I agree with the NIV that we should not think about it; however, we should also make no provision for them. While Jeanie was at camp, and I was watering her weed, I was providing for the weed's needs. What need does drunkenness need provided for it? It needs to have the alcohol necessary for being drunk, and it is provided when you buy beer or whiskey and have it available for your consumption. What need does revelry need provided for it? If you are going to have a party and engage in immoral activities you will need a place to go to, the time to do it, and the money to make it possible. Setting aside a time, a place, and the money for revelry is making provision for it. Lust will also need provision if we are thinking in terms of the lust described in Matthew 5:28, which appears to be the context also here in Romans 13. Lust can be provided for by the setting you allow yourself to be in, or the TV shows, movies, etc. that you watch and for which you set aside time.
It is harder to understand how a person would make provision for something like envy. Envy is defined by dictionary dot com as: "a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc." You provide for envy when you dwell upon or meditate upon what someone else has in comparison to what you have. Every time you do that you are watering the weed of envy in your life.
We could list more of the "works of darkness" but I think you can see what Paul is talking about here. If we want to rid our lives of those weeds of the flesh we must stop making provision for them. We must stop watering them. Stop it!
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