But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (NIV)
Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. (NLT)
Have you ever truly wondered why we have a compulsion to lust? It seems though we know lust morally to be wrong, it can have such a power over us. Ignatius of Loyola says, “Sin is an unwillingness to trust that what God wants for me is only my deepest happiness.” That's where we go wrong, isn’t it? When we believe that God is holding out on us, sin becomes the thing that we instead believe will “fill” our desires. It seems this has been the case since the beginning. Genesis 3 depicts the picture well. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”(Genesis 3:6). Eve saw the fruit and caved to temptation because of what God was seemingly “holding back” from her.
In this series, we are continuing to zoom in on the vice of lust that we can attempt to run to in hopes of satisfaction. As followers of Jesus, we come to know this is a counterfeit version of satisfaction, but while we are still on this earth, we will continue to be faced with temptations of the flesh. When we look at this week's verse, Romans 13:14, we see the simple wisdom to “put on Jesus” in order to take off or “cover” lust. The image given is to “clothe” ourselves in Christ, which produces a new grace and power to abstain from indulging in evil desires. Picture the soldier who goes into battle with no armor on. He is completely vulnerable to the enemy's attacks because there is no protective barrier. Whether in a face-to-face battle or a fleeing soldier with arrows flying all around him, he remains vulnerable without armor. In the same way, if we do not clothe ourselves in Christ, we are vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
Are you satisfied in Jesus? Ultimately being clothed in Christ is being clothed in His righteousness because He overcame sin for us. Jesus offers to lay His purity on us through His blood, and now by the power of the Spirit, we can choose purity. Clothing ourselves in Christ comes with the gift of realizing God's greatest desire is our deep joy and satisfaction in Him, and it's found when we delight in him. As pastor John Piper famously says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
God reveals Himself as a good Father who isn’t “holding back” from us, unlike Adam and Eve believed, but He is someone who loves us deeply beyond our imagination. His love is what gives abundant life. The beauty of the gospel is this love in action. We are able to conquer our desires because of Christ’s work on our behalf.
Simply put, we can conquer our own flesh because we have Christ who has offered up His.
Romans 13:11-14 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
What does it look like to be clothed in Christ? When we zoom out and look at Romans 13 on a broader level, we see the section is all about love fulfilling the law. When we look at the commandments of the law and look at loving the Lord and our neighbor, they line up perfectly. True love looks like seeking to obey the Lord because what He asks of us is actually the best thing for us. He truly desires our flourishing and is not keeping anything good from His children.
When we live in obedience to the Lord, we are clothing ourselves in Him, ultimately trusting Him above our own desires. The Scripture shows that the time is coming near for Christ's final return, which should give us a sober wake-up to put on Christ. This is a call to press into him and deny the desires of the flesh. So, draw near to Jesus, putting aside the deeds of darkness and putting on the armor of light.
Written by Ben Hesch
I clothe myself in you today, accepting your grace and mercy upon my life, knowing that your sacrifice is my salvation. I trust that your ways are higher than my ways and your thoughts higher than my thoughts. Let others see you when they look at me, and let me see you as I look at and seek to serve those around me. Direct my eyes to you, break my heart for what breaks yours, and keep my mind from wicked thoughts.