“May we dedicate ourselves to developing the spirit rather than giving in to the flesh; to decency and not sensuality; that our life in Christ may underline the truth of our message of proclamation.”
This is a prayer one of my friends, Brazil missionary J. Randal Matheny, is asking the brotherhood of the church to consider in November. This one sentence makes a great deal of sense and should be in our minds and hearts as we enter the eleventh month of the year.
We should dedicate ourselves to developing spiritual things rather than giving in to the flesh. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof,” (Romans 13:13-14 ASV).
All of those things Paul said we should not heed are desires of the flesh. They appeal to baser thoughts, not spiritual thinking. There are three pairs of things from which we are to refrain. All three pairs are a reflection of worldly thinking and living, not behavior belonging to those who have put on Christ in baptism.
There’s a reason why people living in the sphere of influence of wickedness live the way they do: they have never repented! Christians, on the contrary, have repented and changed their lives putting the old man of sin to death (Romans 6:6-7).
People who are clothed with Christ are not making “provision for the flesh,” an interesting phrase headed by the word, “provision,” which is an old Greek word for “forethought.” One can either plan for a heavenly future, or for an eternal destiny away from God. Christians are making an investment in thinking and living spiritually, not fleshly.
Our proclamation of the truth can be greatly enhanced by our faithfulness to the word of God we claim to love. If our lives condemn us, others will not obey the gospel. Therefore, we need to show the power of Christ in our hearts and lives so as to validate and recommend the proclamation of the gospel. Our lives show our thoughts. People will see in our conduct what we believe. Then, let us proclaim Christ with our lives and our tongues!