But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13.14)
By the grace of God Christians are born-again. Those who were formerly dead in transgressions and sins (Eph. 2.1) have been made alive. However, accompanying the believer in all of his pursuits is the presence of his flesh. The flesh is the spiritual existence and embodiment of the sinful habits and desires of the unregenerate. This flesh remains draped over the believer like an old smelly jacket, though we are clean positionally we are ever aware of its presence and stench. It is this flesh with which believers are to daily struggle as we are continually being changed into the image of our Savior, by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 6.19; 2 Cor. 7.1; Gal. 5.16-17).
I have put a face on my flesh. The face is doubtlessly far too tame; however it serves to remind me of the ugliness of my flesh. The disgustingly dreadful adversary Gollum in The Lord of the Rings serves as my flesh’s poster child. Gollum’s incessant cry for nourishment and provision in his demonic brogue reminds me of the insatiability of my own flesh and my need to starve it.
Like Gollum our flesh cries for the preciousness of its desires, the fleshly desire is to be fed on the bitter and deadly joys of sin. I love how this text in Romans calls the believer to make no provision for it. Literally it is to make no arrangements or no plans for it. We are to know our flesh, its tendencies, appetite and ultimate end and are to put it on a permanent lock down. We are to continually be attending to it, knowing that it will never leave us while we are this side of glory. This is why we are called to put our flesh to death (Rom. 8.13; Col. 3.5).
The tactic in this verse to suffocate the flesh is the new wardrobe for the believer, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. These are terms for getting dressed. We are to be actively putting on Christ and putting off the flesh. While the flesh sets its desires on self-pleasure through self-sovereignty the putting on of Christ seeks divine-pleasure through divine-sovereignty.
We are to see the creep crawling out of our figurative shirt only to whisper fleshly desires and accusations only to put on Christ and his all-sufficient death, his humility, kindness, compassion, and love for the glory of God; all the while suffocating our Gallum and his desires.
This is why we must be daily scrubbing our heart with the revealed word, that our minds might be renewed (Rom. 12.2) and conformed more into the image of the Lord Jesus. We must be daily seeking our Father, confessing sin and praying for holiness, while maintaining hatred for our abiding sin-stained flesh resulting in its daily mortification.
This duty is contingent upon a mindset of war. The war is going on and the battlefield is our own hearts. We must know the enemy and be aware of the supply lines. It is incumbent upon us as Christians to monitor not only what comes into our hearts (whether this be multi-media, conversations, or relationships) but also what comes out of our hearts (meditations, thoughts, and actions). Christians must take this seriously for it is serious to God.