This was one of the quotes that I enjoyed from the fellowship in my Bible study this week on Romans 13. This week we discussed the matters of being subject to the authorities (vv. 1-7), loving one another (vv. 8-10), and waging the warfare in our daily life against the lusts of our flesh (vv. 11-14). These all seem like outwardly good things–it’s good to submit to those with authority over you, to love those around you, and to not give in to the daily temptations of our natural desires/taste. However, in the light of transformation, in the light of the Lord desiring a Body to express Himself, there’s a need for the Lord to work Himself into these different aspects of our being for us to live the Body life. The experience one person shared was that though they knew that it was good to love the other brothers and sisters, for some particular people, there was no such feeling–this was not something they could generate in themselves (nor do we want to). But by allowing the Lord to come in to those parts of their being, the Lord was able to work into them a love and concern –His love and concern–for these members.
And also, there is an important matter for us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and to “make no provision for the flesh”. It’s as if there is a battle going on between the Lord and the flesh that is waging within us. Every day we have two sides to “root for”–Christ, or the flesh. But we’re not merely spectators, we are the deciding factor. It’s an active cooperation on our part both to take the Lord as our person in our living, and to give no opportunity for the flesh. A practical way to “make no provision for the flesh” is to not put yourself in a situation where the flesh can fulfill its lusts. Sometimes for myself, I have the intention to read the Bible before going to bed. But if I read it on my phone, it gives me many opportunities to just press a button and I go from reading Romans to watching sports highlights. But if I read my physical copy, though my flesh may stir a desire to check scores or open my phone games, it is less accessible. This is even for the sake of the Body, for the sake of the other members of the Body of Christ! I appreciated that our God is training us to live this Body life, and even training our taste so that we would come to desire Him more and more each day. As we open to Him, read the Bible, and enjoy Him through fellowship with other believers, He has a way to add Himself more to us.
So when we realize that our love for some of the members of the Body is lacking, if we still have inward responses of rebellion when our parents/RAs/etc. tell us to do this or that, or if we still feel that we can’t overcome the flesh, we can be encouraged! We can open to the Lord who is waiting to work Himself more into our inward being each day.