A Healthy Starvation

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“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.”
Romans 13:13-14

This morning, as I was reading through Romans I was struck by this passage because of the image of sin it created in my mind – one of finiteness and mortality. Paul is exhorting the people to love in order to fulfill the Law. If we love God, our actions become obedience to Him (the Law) and we abide in His love through Christ Jesus (1 John 3:24 -> 1 John 4:16). If we love God, He teaches us to walk in righteousness. We cannot be perfect, but in Christ we have died and no longer live. So what lives is Christ Jesus in us (Galatians 2:20).

Paul cites behaviors inΒ verse 13 that are evidences that one is living outside of love, but then speaks of dressing ourselves in Christ in order to combat the flesh. What is so interesting about verse 14 is how Paul creates an understanding that sin must be fed in order to survive. It isn’t something by which we simply become victims. If sin is thriving within us, some area of our life is nourishing it, feeding it. Otherwise, it would starve and die. Paul references this thought in his letter to the Ephesians as well (4:27)

When we walk dressed in Christ, the darkness distances itself. For sin to be starved, this clothing cannot simply be external. The robes of the Lord Jesus can adorn the deepest most secret portions of the heart, soul, and mind. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This promise is not set upon human ability. The intrinsically sinful human being cannot cause Satan to tuck tail and run. If he could, the hope we find in the sacrifice of Christ would be void (Romans 4:14).

But in Christ, that man (or that woman) has died and is now arrayed in the splendor of the risen Savior. The sight of such a thing is a great cause of concern for Satan because He must be fed as well. After all, he is part of God’s creation (Genesis 3:1a). His teeth are sharp, but not enough to tear through the ornaments of Christ. His tongue is repulsed by the tastes of Christ and his stomach cannot hold them. They are death to him. So it is not human decision that causes him to starve and flee, but the splendor of Christ who clothes us in His wonder thereby causing our appetites to turn to and be filled by His glory alone. Our Lord has no need for food. We do not gratify Him through our actions like we do our sin. Rather, He is gratified through Christ who imputed the righteousness of God to those who would believe. He does not eat. He does not sleep. He has neither weakness nor the need to flee. He is our Supper, our Warrior, our Father, our Savior.

And through Christ, we can wear His glory with confidence.

“All mistakes can be marked by borders
All of love can be traced to a Maker”

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