Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fight Lust (part 3): Eliminate "Provisions"!

For part 1 ("Get Saved!"), click here. For part 2 ("Run to the Light!"), click here.

Paul told the followers of Jesus in Rome:

The night is almost gone,
and the day is at hand.
Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us behave properly as in the day,
not in carousing and drunkenness,
not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality,
not in strife and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.
Romans 13:12-14 (NASB)
What is a 'provision for the flesh'?

Let's say you struggled with alcoholism. For you, a provision would be keeping a rack of wine bottles in your basement. For someone fighting drug addiction, his handwritten list of phone numbers in the dresser drawer ("just in case I need it for medical reasons some time") would be a provision. The glutton's provision might be driving past the donut shop on the way to work.

And for someone battling lust, a provision could be something very simple. Even things that are not bad in themselves, like TV, unfiltered Internet, the newspaper, going to the beach, or working in a clothing store.

After telling us that lust is mental adultery, Jesus added, "If your right eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish than for your whole body to be thrown into hell" (Matthew 5:29, NASB).

We all know our physical eyes are not responsible for lust. Even a blind man can lust, because lust is a heart problem. Jesus statement was meant to shock us into realizing just how seriously we need to take the fight with lust. It's a life or death matter. No matter how "essential" we feel our "provision" is to our happiness--if it's causing us to stumble, we need to throw it away from us!

As much as I would like to tell you what provisions I have had to "throw away" for my own battle, I think that would be counterproductive. It's far to easy to simply adopt someone else's "checklist" instead of taking time to hear from God. I will simply give you a few principles that have helped me:

  • Does Scripture itself have any specific direction or general principles about the possible "provision"?
  • "Others may, I cannot." (Just because another believer can do it without stumbling does not mean I can.
  • If I keep this possible "provision" and it doesn't cause me to stumble, what will I have gained? If I keep it and it does cause me to stumble, what will I have lost? Weigh the two against each other.
  • If you are still not sure about it, ask a mature Christian (who has victory over lust) for his advice.

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