One of the first principles of coming to Jesus Christ is the principle of repentance. Repentance relates to changing your life by turning around and away from the things of this world to the things of the spirit.
The word “repentance” is translated from the Greek word “metanoia” which literally means to change your thinking. And when we change the way we think, we automatically change the way we behave because all behaviour commences with a thought.
So then, if we are to learn how to walk properly with Jesus Christ, we need to change our behaviours and this is preceded by changing how we think. This is the focus of these few verses we are looking at today.
Works of Darkness
We see first that in these verses we are encouraged and exhorted to cast off the works of darkness. Paul then describes a number of examples of such things, and if we look at the examples we see that the problems the early Christians faced then are no different to today.
12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:12-14)
If anything today many of these works of darkness are flaunted today and often promoted in the media. Think of the films and television shows that promote violence, sex, homosexuality, promiscuity and adultery.
Yet we know also that it is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming upon this earth. God will execute judgement upon all who partake of these things and other works of darkness. Indeed we see that He is already judging the people of this world for all who participate in the evil works of darkness suffer even in this world.
Consider those who enter into the various forms of adultery and immorality. Marriages are destroyed, families are split asunder and trust and faithfulness ceases to exist. Also it is a recognized fact that those who choose a homosexual lifestyle suffer for their decision. They have higher incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, higher rates of depression and much higher levels of suicide than the heterosexual population.
Those who choose to reject the ways of God and seek to walk in darkness and participate in the works of darkness will suffer for their decisions both here and now and in the age to come.
Walking in the Daytime
Paul exhorts us instead to walk in the daytime. That is, we are to walk in the light.
The significant distinction here is that when we walk in the daytime we can see where we are going. We can see the pitfalls ahead before we fall into them and make the right decisions to avoid the dark places.
However those who choose to walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. They trip, stumble and fall into traps and continue to slide deeper into the dark. They cannot see because their eyes are blinded for they do not seek the light that is in Jesus Christ but choose to follow the darkness as evidenced in their deeds.
When Paul tells us to walk in the daytime he encourages us in the last verse saying,
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
It is when we choose deliberately to think differently that we are able to keep these words.
We often see repentance as an “after the fact” action. That is, most people see it as though if you do the wrong thing, then you need to repent of it and so make things right. It is the process of reconsidering what we have done to learn and change how we think in the future so as not to do it again.
However, verse 14 quoted above we see Paul actually asking us to do more than repent. To repent is to act after the horse has bolted (so to speak). But it would be much better if we had not done the wrong thing in the first place. It is better to do right from the start than to rest upon the grace of God to forgive us through repentance when we have done the wrong thing.
And that is what Paul tells us here. We are to make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. It is the weaknesses of our flesh and the passions and desires of our humanity that lead us to do the wrong things.
Look at all of the examples Paul quoted in these verses above. All of them are based upon human passions, lusts, desires and emotions. And it is these things that lead man astray to do evil.
The one exception in that list is drunkeness, which feeds all of the rest. When a person gets drunk they loosen their inhibitions, they do not and cannot think clearly and they make bad decisions. Indeed it is often drunkeness that leads a person to commit many of the other works of darkness. And in fact it is not just drunkeness but anything that alters your ability to think with sound judgement. Anything that you are addicted to or overcome by will lead you to the ways of sin and the works of darkness.
This is why in verse 14 Paul tells us to make no provision for the flesh. Get away and stay away from the things that trigger your human passions and desires that might lead you to do wrong.
If drink or drugs or anything else leads you astray, then don't partake of those things. If certain people influence you and sway you to follow certain paths that are the paths of sin and darkness, do not associate with them. If certain places and situations lead you to do or say what is wrong in God's sight then don't go into those places or situations.
Stop all of the things that affect your sensibilities and derail your good judgement. That is what Paul is teaching us here. This is how we make no provision for the flesh; by abstaining from the people, places and things that would lead us astray.
Change the way you think and you will change the way you act. And when we follow these sound words, we are in the process of changing how we think and act.
It is good to walk in the ways of repentance, but it is far better to walk in the ways of righteousness for it is better to do what is right from the start than to have to repent after the fact and rest on the forgiveness in God's grace.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com provided by Vivek Chugh)
You might also like:
Jesus Is The Light
Help Me Father God
They Hated Me Without A Cause
Darkness To Light
Seek To Enter By The Narrow Door
Sons Of Light Sons Of Darkness
Walk In The Light
Pathways Of The Lord
Restored By Grace
Reconciled To God
Oops I Did It Again
Repent And Believe In The Gospel
World Class Protection At No Cost
Looking For Lost Sheep
Seeking The Lost Coin
The Prodigal Son
Repentance And Forgiveness
He Came To Save The Lost
Go And Sin No More
Speaking In Tongues
Restored By Grace
Change Your Behaviour
What Are You Thinking About
Walking In The Spirit