Does it seem like no matter what you do your sin still won’t die? You’ve confessed and repented, again. You’ve sworn you would never do that again, again.
The solution is simple: your flesh is still feeding on provisions you’ve given it.
Consider for a moment what sort of “triggers” in your life usually start you down a path towards sin. If you’re a glutton, perhaps taking the route to work that brings you by the donut shop is not wise. If you’re in bondage to lust, perhaps those commercials during the game, even if they’re just short ones, are tempting you. It’s just the first steps, no doubt, but before you know it you’ve done it again and racked by guilt and shame.
Our flesh must die. We know this. But how? How do we kill it?
We must starve our flesh, literally. It must not be allowed any sustenance with which to grow in its desire to dominate our life and ultimately, destroy us.
…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 15:14
God’s instruction to us is not just “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”, but also “make no provision for the flesh”.
One time in home group we were talking about this concept and I asked what it meant to “make provision”, regarding camping – like what would you pack if you were going camping? My little girl excitedly burst out, “Guns!” Stunned, trying to process what she was talking about, she further explained, “Like if you need to shoot some bears or somethin’ “. Giggles all around, but she got it. She understood that if you were going camping (or perhaps, more technically, hunting) you should pack guns with you.
Now reverse it. If you wish to fully obey God, who desires your holiness as he is holy, then you must also “make no provision” for your sins.
You know what it is that stalks you. If you are reading this and sense this describes your situation, then pray and ask God to show you in what ways you have been feeding, or “making provision”, for your flesh. Ask Him to help you find ways to eliminate those provisions. Ask God to change your desires, giving you the provision you need to walk in the Spirit.
Richard Baxter, 17th-century Puritan preacher and author, said:
“Keep as far as you can from those temptations that feed and strengthen the sins which you would overcome. Lay siege to your sins, and starve them out, by keeping away the food and fuel which is their maintenance and life.”