Make No Provision for the Flesh


Whenever I go camping I have to get ready for my trip by making provisions for it. I have to get out all my gear and check it to make sure it is sound and in good working order. I have to get food, extra clothes and supplies ready and packed. I have to get weather forecast, maps and permits. Then I have to pack it all in by backpack. All of these provisions have to be made for my trip long before I hit the trail and go camping. In a similar way Paul realized that we have to get ready to sin just like we have to get ready for a trip.

In Romans 13:14 he said, “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.” He was saying don’t get ready to sin by making provision for sin to come to fruition. How do we go about not making provisions for the flesh? Let’s use the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:1-20) to teach how not to make provisions for the flesh to fulfill its lust.

KNOW YOUR TEMPTATIONS

Joseph had been very successful while in the serve of Potiphar. When Potiphar placed all that he had under Joseph’s authority, God began to bless him and his house for the sake of Joseph. Potiphar was so comfortable with Joseph’s management of his house he didn’t even know what he had except for the bread that was placed before him.

When Potiphar’s wife began to make sexual advances toward Joseph, he said to her:

“Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in the house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8-9)

Joseph is simply expressing his limitations; he knows himself and his weaknesses better than anyone else. Joseph knew Potiphar was disconnected from the goings on in the house and if he had wanted to he could have had Potiphar’s wife and Potiphar would have never known. But Joseph knew his himself and his limits and he was willing to verbalize them for all to know.

If we’re going to overcome sin by making no provision for the flesh then first we have to know our limits and be willing to verbalize them. We have to know the temptations that can so easily ensnare us and we have to be willing to say them out loud so those limitations become more real to us. Not only do we need to know our limits but we also need to…

HAVE A PLAN

Joseph knew his limits and the dangers of being tempted by Potiphar’s wife so he set out to have a plan that would keep him from indulging in this temptation. So what was his plan? The answer is in vv. 11-12:

“But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.” (Genesis 39:11-12)

Joseph’s plan was to not be alone with Potiphar’s wife. From v. 10 were learn that his plan well because the text says, “she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.” Not only did it keep him from having sex with her but it also kept him from being in her company, which in context of making no provision for the flesh would have been the first step in giving in to temptation. Not only did Joseph have a plan (don’t be in the house alone with her) he also had a backup plan in case his first plan fell through and that was to run.

If we’re going to make no provision for the flesh then we have to have a plan to overcome the temptations that we will encounter. Without a plan we’re sitting ducks for our temptations. For example if drinking alone is the problem then have a plan of not being alone. If you’re enticed to lust after a certain server at a particular establishment, then have a plan of not going there anymore. If gambling is your demon, then have a plan of not going into gas stations that sell lottery scratch-offs or let your spouse handle the money. The point is to have a plan (and a backup plan) and do whatever it takes to so we don’t make provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.

ACT ON THE PLAN

Not only did Joseph have a plan but he also acted on his plan. Look at vv. 11-12 again:

“But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.” (Genesis 39:11-12)

How much good would it have been for Joseph to have a plan but not act on it? Well it wouldn’t have done any good. He not only had to have a plan but he had to act on that plan that’s why we see him resist her day after day in v. 10 and again in v. 12 when he ran (plan #2).

Once we’ve made our plans to not make provision for the flesh to fulfill our lust we have to be willing to act upon those plans. Acting on our plans is where the real struggle of overcoming sin lies. It’s not all that hard to identify our faults, or to come up with a plan on what to do when we’re tempted but the difficult part is acting on our plan. But if we are going to overcome the temptations and sin that have ensured us in the past we have to put our plans into action. If the plan is to call a friend when tempted then make the call. If the plan is to leave the room, house, restaurant, or wherever then leave. If the plan is to simply run… then run! Is it going to be hard? Sure, but remember we “can do all things through Christ you strengthens you” (Philippians 4:13).

Paul said “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.” How do we go about making no provisions for the flesh? By knowing our temptations, by having a plan for what to do when we’re tempted and acting on our plan. With God’s help you can overcome the sin in your life. May God bless you.

I would love to share in your joys and struggles. Make a comment or send me an email at clay@claygentry.com and share with me the joy of overcoming sin or the struggles that you still have.

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6 thoughts on “Make No Provision for the Flesh

  1. I’m a believer and I struggle with sugar, particularly refined sugar. Do u think it is wise to eat sweets that are made with “organic sugar”? Would this be an example of making provision for the flesh? What are ur thoughts ?

    1. Davene, I’m sorry to hear about your sugar problems. The idea of not making provision of the flesh is a spiritual truth regarding sinning. Meaning, we don’t put ourselves in position to sin. Thanks Clay

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