I have a friend who is wonderful with plants. In her house the plants gracing her window sills are worthy of an illustration in a ‘Homes and Gardens’ magazine. Her ferns are lush and her orchids (a picture of health and happiness) flower continually. I, on the other hand, seem to struggle to keep any plants alive for long, in fact my friend has more than once commented on my having a ‘deathly touch’ rather than green fingers. She tells me frankly that my problem is that I don’t make the right provision for the plants to live. They need suitable light, warmth, food and water and without these in right measure plants inevitably wither and die.
However, this sad fact of life (and death!) gives me a clue about what Paul is wanting us to achieve by following his instructions in Romans 13:14: the death of our flesh-life. If we make no provision for the flesh-life it will surely die - just like my house plants. Pause and think; what sustains our old flesh life? If we recognise how it has been sustained we can then decide to ‘make no provision for it’ and it too will eventually wither and die. What Paul encourages us to do is a recipe for success in living a glorious Christian life. We need to provide all that is necessary for us to grow more Christ-like and at the same time starve the old flesh-life to death.
So, watering with unclean thoughts, occult activities or rebellion must stop. That may mean changing friends or habits. Feeding with sinful attitudes, jealousy and judgement must stop. That may mean learning how to forgive and being less self-centred. Living in the darkness of lies and half truths must stop. God’s clear truth in word and motive must be the foundation for all relationships and activities. All the warmth coming from indulging in false comfort and self protection must stop. Turning to Father God for help with needs, pains, loneliness and grief must become the new way of life.
Perhaps reading less of what the world prints, talking less in of the way the world speaks and attending less to the world’s views would help in all these areas too. What provision will you provide for yourself today? It is up to you to decide what will live and what will die.
Prayer: Lord, by the power of Your Holy Spirit living in me, I ask You to show me where I am unwittingly providing good living and growing conditions for my old flesh-life. It is my desire to stop this and change the environment of my life so that my sinful flesh-life is progressively starved to death. I ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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