This is an older post by Josh Harris. If you haven’t seen it before, I thought it might be benefical to see Romans 13:14 illustrated in this fashion. He used this illustration in his book Dug Down Deep. This little cartoon is a great way to help others understand how to battle those fleshly desrires.
Romans 13:14 which says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
1. This is you. Or us, a human made in God’s image. Ladies, sorry you have to identify with a little guy. I’m not sure why he doesn’t have a shirt.
2. This is the flesh. He’s kind of a Jabba the Hut meets WWF wrestler. The Flesh represents the sinful, corrupted desires of our heart. It’s not a reference to our bodies—our bodies are created by God and are good. The flesh represents our sinful cravings to live for ourselves and disobey God’s laws and commands.
3. Before Jesus saves us, this is how all of us relate to the flesh. The Bible says that we are slaves to our sinful desires. Our flesh is boss. If you’re not a Christian, I’m not trying to offend you. I know this isn’t a flattering picture of your current condition but it’s true of all of us apart from God saving us.
4. This is what happens when we trust in Jesus. Because Jesus died on the cross and conquered sin and rose again, we are freed from the power of sin. It’s no longer our boss. See how the chain is broken? And we get clothes, which is really great.
5. But our flesh doesn’t disappear. It still hangs around to entice us. After we’re Christians, we’re no longer slaves to sin, but the flesh can still tempt us. We can choose to give into temptation and indulge the flesh. This is what theologians call “indwelling sin.” Jesus broke the power of sin, but we still live with the presence and influence of sinful desires.
6. That’s why the Bible is full of encouragement to fight our fleshly desires. We can’t live at peace with it. We have to attack it and deny it. (In hindsight, I guess the “sword of the Spirit” would have been a bit more biblical. Oh well.)
7. The problem is that too often Christians make friends with their flesh. In fact they feed their flesh. We give into our sinful desires. We pamper our flesh. We provide it three rounded meals a day with snacks and dessert. We might think that since we’ve been freed by the cross it’s okay to indulge the flesh. But there’s a real problem. When we feed the flesh…
8. …it grows! And before you know it, the flesh is bigger and stronger than you and starts to push you around. That’s why Paul is telling us in Romans 13 that we need to…
9. …starve our flesh!
That’s what we want our flesh to look like. We want the flesh gaunt and feeble.
When Paul says “make no provision for the flesh” he’s saying don’t feed your sinful desires. Don’t do things—don’t think things, don’t watch things, don’t meditate on things—;that strengthen your sinful inclinations.