Lots of times, when a story is told, readers are left wondering: what happened? This is especially true when specific or pertinent details are intentionally omitted (especially when the topic is of a more sensitive nature or where others are involved and wouldn’t be well served by the telling).
But this blog entry is just a continuation of writings of the last few days — and this one’s a long entry. If I give details here (or in the last two entries), I’d ask your kindness and lack of adding insult to injury. This has been a pretty candid recounting of the most painful (relationship-wise) era of my life. The fallout occasionally reminds me the woods were deep — but I cannot describe the freedom, the blessing and the gracious, loving work of the Lord in and through it all.
So, the title of the entry: Make no provision for the flesh… this comes from Romans 13.14 ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
Essentially, it’s a three part verse that would do well to be broken into three messages. But, for the sake of brevity, I’ll share with you tonight that not making provision for the flesh is to not fulfill the lusts of our flesh — that types out so easily and is so easily said… but I believe that, in and of ourselves it is not possible. But! It is possible as we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In the flesh we will fulfill the lusts of the flesh — in the Spirit we will (with the Spirit’s enabling) resist the lusts of the flesh. It may be a moment by moment resistance, but the Spirit will enable us to obey as we yield ourselves to His leading.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other:
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Galatians 5.16-17; 6.8
When I started a diet, I prayed for a number of days prior to starting the diet — I didn’t want to do it and yet I needed to do it; there was no question that I needed to do it. My planned thoughts were willing, my sane-mind was willing but my flesh was not willing to give up whatever I wanted to eat — especially caffé mochas every morning. And mid-morning. I know, I know… don’t judge. ;o) I was not willing to do what I knew I must do. So, I prayed and confessed to the Lord that my spirit was willing but my flesh was weak — I confessed as sin my over-indulgence and tendency to mindlessly do/eat whatever I wanted.
Make no provision for the flesh. Make. no. provision. for. the. flesh. Make no provision for the flesh. It’s a a decision; it’s a resolve: it’s a command. Have you ever thought of it that way when you’ve read it in the Word? Or, have you been like me — sort of taking it as a good suggestion. Sort of the hot tip for the day.
I took time to pray, wait and prepare before I began this diet. But when I gave my husband my computer a couple of years ago, I wasn’t all prayed up and ready. And yet, I was ready. I knew it was right. So, the making no provision for the flesh there was pretty easy. And, for quite a while it was easy. And then it wasn’t. It wasn’t easy when I was selfish or embarrassed that I’d let myself get carried away each day, stopping at the counter in the kitchen to just read one thing, look up another, browse this or that. That shame was used of the Lord to help me get my priorities back on track. And the recalling all the things I hadn’t taken the time to do, make, create, etc., bcz I was too distracted by whatever was on the computer… well, that sorrow was multiplied and used as well. It continues to be used to this day.
Those first weeks, my husband printed my necessary letters and brought them down to me. Because I had gone “no mail” for several years on email lists and because I knew I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t want to wreck my progress, I didn’t seek computer time of my own — I was content with his decision and happy at all that was being accomplished. I didn’t know what was going on in the news — and, strangely, I didn’t care. I stayed busy — I worked hard in our home all day long. I dedicated myself to what I knew I had neglected. You know what one of the biggest helps was? It was a simple request my husband made… and it was this: When you go gather up the laundry to do each morning, don’t negatively comment that the towels are on the floor again or that this or that wasn’t in the hamper — just graciously gather and take care of the laundry. I knew he was right and it was right to serve them… it was right to be sweet to them all. It’s what I thought, it’s what I’d taught! and it’s all I ultimately wanted to be! And… may I say, that from that day to this, I’ve done most all the laundry — and gladly so — and rarely have I made a comment about the amount, location or condition of the laundry. To be candid, I have occasionally reminded them that I’d be coming up to gather the laundry in a short while. They noticed — it’s now pretty rare for me to mention it. And with ten kids here, there’s a lot of laundry every day. That cheerfulness for serving, preparing breakfasts every morning and setting daily and weekly goals helped me to get, and stay, on track.
When this recent diet began, I had to make not provision for the flesh and that meant I had to have a plan of attack on the flesh — I had to make advance plans for the flesh — to get the flesh to comply with the plan. I had to target the things I would and wouldn’t eat. Eliminating butter-sugar-flour has its great dietary advantages, but for a snacky-foodie, no butter-sugar-flour (or any combination thereof) is practically torture — unless the prayerfully set goals are kept in mind. Water, planning and lots of busy-ness — O, and daily entries on the weight chart are very motivating. The delight for an Americano each morning is a bonus — or a concession — I guess. When I’m, cooking for the family I first cut up a few carrots into coins and a pepper or snap-peas and put them in a dish by the stove/sink. When cooking, there’s a tremendous temptation for me to snack and taste everything and so my appeasement for the flesh is the dish of crunchy vegetables. Make no provision for the flesh, I remind myself.
Some time passed by… and I had the use of my computer again. Initially, after a couple of months — for a half hour each day. My husband wisely chose this to demonstrate there was really no need to be on the computer everyday whenever I wanted to be and the world got along fine without my commentary, without my reading each devotional online or checking Facebook — or writing much here. The make no provision for the flesh included not working off-line either. Later, a little more leeway was extended. By this time I was too busy in our home doing what I ought to have been doing all along — working alongside each child — talking with them more, listening to them more, doing things for them more and being more all here instead of partially here mentally. As this project or experiment has continued and reworked and finetuned, My husband has been so gracious and gentle with me — I share this with you in hopes that you may find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone if you need to make some dramatic changes in your life to “get your home back in order.” And, additionally, if you’re like me, you probably don’t even realize that your home/family isn’t the dearest and highest priority it ought to be when you spend too much time online doing good things! Writing good things, reading good things!
The best things are better than good things. I’ve had to redouble my efforts to make sure I don’t lapse back into doing good things and thus get distracted and sidetracked into neglecting the best things.
If you’re seeking to make changes… pray. Seek the Lord, He is already there. Commit your way to Him and He will direct your path.