How To Resist Temptation

Chuck Swindoll, in Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, tells a story about a father concerned about the danger of a nearby canal, ordered his son, “Don’t swim in the canal.”

“OK, Dad,” he answered.

However, later that day he saw his son coming home carrying a wet swimsuit.

“Where have you been?” demanded the father.

“Swimming in the canal,” answered the boy.

“Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” asked the father.

“Yes, Sir,” answered the boy.

“Why did you?” he asked.

“Well, Dad,” he explained, “I had my swimsuit with me and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”

“Why did you take your swimsuit with you?” he questioned.

“So I’d be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted,” he replied.

This story illustrates that too often we fail to take precautions against temptation to sin. In fact, sometimes we do things that make giving in to temptation easy. Regarding this problem, the apostle Paul issued this warning in Romans 13:14.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

The word “provision” means “forethought” or literally “provident care.” This involves thinking, planning and providing something needed for the future.

I’ve read that this word was used in connection with the Roman army moving forward as they conquered new lands. They would often burn bridges they had crossed, signaling to the soldiers that they were not going back. Only forward. There was no provision for escape or return.

When it comes to our new life in Christ, there should be no thought of turning back. Of returning to a life of sin. Or even making provisions “just in case” we’re tempted.

The other evening, we were watching an old episode of “Home Improvement” where Jill catches their oldest son, Brad, in his bedroom making out with his girlfriend. Alarmed, she futilely tries to talk to him about sex. Later Tim, in an awkward way, tries to broach the subject. However, all the advice centered around being responsible. Using protection. And waiting until you’re a man.

I remarked to Norma Jean, how the show said nothing about waiting until you’re married. And certainly not even suggesting that pre-marital sex is a sin. In fact, the majority of Americans today see nothing wrong about unmarried people engaging in sexual relations. Thus, birth control education, pills, and prophylactics are provided without any moral guidance for our young people. That’s “making provision for the flesh.”

If you have a strong temptation to drink, don’t hang out with your buddies at a bar, claiming you’re just going to drink a coke and eat a hamburger.

If you’re tempted to watch pornographic movies, don’t get cable TV with all the movie channels.

If you’re tempted to engage in revelry and riotous behavior, don’t attend parties and places of entertainment where such is the norm.

If you’re a married man, follow the Mike Pence rule.  Don’t have secret meetings with a woman who’s not your wife.

Making provisions for the flesh might extend into our choice of clothing. What message are we sending? The “me too” movement says a woman can dress or undress any way she chooses, regardless of how scantily, sensual or sexual the clothing, and no one should say or do anything inappropriate. Yet, the reality is that’s simply making provision for the flesh. Like it or not.

“Make no provision for the flesh” can be applied to the magazines we subscribe to, the books we read, and the internet sites we visit. It’s application is found in where we vacation and what we do while there. And even the very professions we choose.

The answer to this problem is found in the metaphorical expression “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Be clothed in His righteousness. Attired in His holiness. Dressed in goodness. And it is well to remember, this is not a coat to put on when it’s cool and take off when it’s warm. This garment of godliness is to be worn 24/7.

“Make no provision for the flesh.”, Or as one sage said it, “When you flee temptation, be sure you don’t leave a forwarding address.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Temptation

2 responses to “How To Resist Temptation

  1. Are you suggesting that Christian parents should counsel their children to make no provision for Pre-marital Sex? I don’t think that was what Paul was suggesting. I think Paul was against getting married for the wrong reasons. Getting married to sanction sex is thinking with one’s head, making sex something the LAW and legal minded lawyers and teachers should govern. In times gone by, parents would marry off their children in their teens to avoid an embarrassing illegitimate offspring.

    As the story goes, Mary got pregnant innocently. She had no idea how. As the story goes, it was by the power of God. When Love wells up in a teens heart, it seems natural and innocent to kiss and be intimate with someone who is just as in love with you as you are with them.

    Sexual intimacy without Love or without “protection” or provision as a teen or at any age can lead to dire consequences–like an unwanted sexually transmitted disease, an unwanted pregnancy, or heartache when one of the partners mis-interprets the other’s desire for intimacy as affection or love.

    When Paul says put on Jesus Christ and make NO provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires, I think Paul is simply saying make provision for LOVE. Christians are to use their HEART, MIND, BODY AND SOUL to show their love for God, neighbour and self. They are not to act or react with a hungry belly or a hungry sexual organ–with no care for others their actions may affect.

    Young people need to know who they are and where they are going before they get married. Getting married before they and their Love for the boy or gal next door has fully matured can lead to an evenly yoked marriage. Many parents realize this. They’ve got the T-shirt to prove it. That is why they would rather their teens have sex safely without the pressure to get married before they even know what they are going to do with the rest of their lives.

    Marriage is a big commitment.

    Parents would be good to remind teens of the words of Psalm 128:2-3. “For when you eat the fruit of your labor, blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine flourishing within your house, your sons/daughters like olive shoots sitting around your table.” And teens being teens will run off and find shelter in some “hay house” rather than wait and trust their parents good counsel. Wise, loving parents will forgive them and welcome them home and try not to say and do things that will make them feel foolish.

  2. Pingback: How To Resist Temptation | A disciple's study

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