But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:14
Provision – When is planning ahead a disaster? When it is anticipation toward the occasion for sin. James tells us that no one sins unless he is first tempted by his own anticipated desires (James 1:14). Since temptation lies in the anticipation of what is to come, Paul provides us with some very sound advice: don’t make any room for the circumstances of such anticipation!
The Greek is pronoia (literally, “to know before”). While the word is morally neutral, in this context Paul uses it to help us see the intricacy of sinful seduction. It’s worth some reflection. What Paul suggests is not a unplanned existence but rather a deliberate plan not to provide for the possibility of sin.
If you are vulnerable to alcoholic indulgence, it does make a lot of sense to plan your route home so that you pass by your favorite bar. If you struggle with anger, it would be wise to avoid high-conflict relationships. If you are particularly susceptible to sexual temptations, you will have to plan not to watch certain television programs. If overeating is your first step toward sinful self-incrimination, then you will have to bypass some aisles in the grocery store. You get the idea. Plan ahead not to plan ahead for the opportunity of temptation.
This is not a one-size-fits-all process. It requires critical self-examination. Because each one of us has a unique sin DNA, the circumstances and situations that provide seductive temptation the opportunity to drag us under differ for every individual. Just like your physical DNA, there are plenty of similarities with other recovering sin addicts. But just like your specific DNA, you are one in a trillion. The precise nature of your vulnerabilities is completely your own. That’s why it will take your individual plan to make no provision for sin. What tempts you may be inconsequential to someone else. If this were not so, no one would be able to offer loving assistance to alcoholics, prostitutes, drug addicts, compulsive shoppers or workaholics. The temptation would be too great.
Thank God we are so unique, right down to our sins. That means we will not follow each other like lemmings into the sea. That means we can find someone who has a different spiritual DNA and offer mutual help and encouragement. There are some things I just can’t deal with. There are others that give me no problems at all. Those are the ones where I can help you. For the others, I will need what you can give me. I’m planning on it.