Saturday, August 20, 2016
Make No Provision For the Flesh
“Make not provision of the flesh,” says Paul, “to fulfill the lusts thereof.” There is a fire within you; never bring any oil anywhere near it, because if you do there will be a flame, and there will be trouble. Do not give it too much food; which being interpreted means this, among other things: never read anything that you know will do you harm. … Do not read those reports in the newspapers which are suggestive and insinuating and which you know always do you harm. Don’t read them; “pluck out your eye.” They are of no value to anybody; but alas, there they are in the paper and they pander to the public taste. … The same is true of books, especially novels, radio programmes, television and also the cinema. We must come down to these details. These things are generally a source of temptation, and when you give time and attention to them you are making provision for the flesh, you are adding a little fuel to the flame, you are feeding the thing you know is wrong. And we must not do so. “But,” you say, “it is educational. Some of those books are written by marvelous people, and if I do not know these things I shall be considered an ignoramus.” Our Lord’s reply is that, for the sake of your soul, you had better be an ignoramus, if you know it does harm to know these things. Even the most valued thing must be sacrificed.
It also means avoidance of what the Bible calls “foolish talking and jesting” — stories and jokes thought to be clever but which are insinuating and polluting. You will often get that kind of thing with its cleverness, subtlety and wit, from highly intelligent men. The natural man admires it all; but it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Reject it; say you do not want it, that you are not interested. You may offend people by saying so. Well, offend them, I say, for the sake of your soul. Again, we must be careful in the company that we keep. Let me put it like this. We must avoid everything that tends to tarnish and hinder our holiness. “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” which means, “avoid every form of evil.” It does not matter what form it takes. Anything that I know does me harm, anything that arouses, and disturbs, and shakes my composure, no matter what it is, I must avoid it. I must “keep under my body,” I must “mortify my members.” That is what it means; and we must be strictly honest with ourselves.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount,” volume 1, p.249-250