13:12b So then we must lay aside the works of darkness… 13:13b not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy…14b and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.
I’ve purposefully grouped all the negatives together for today’s reflection to focus on what happens in “darkness.”
The works of darkness are those things which occur in the absence of light. Like a mold which grows in a dark, damp environment, these are things which lack the virtues of Christ.
When I think of carousing and drunkenness, I think of people who live in a dulled state of existence. Recently Brenda took drivers ed and they made the students walk a line wearing “drunk glasses”. It distorted reality to the point where straight lines appeared crooked. I’ve never been drunk, but they do say that staying up all night gives you some of the same dynamics, so I guess I can relate in that way. You can’t think clearly and it’s a bad time to be making decisions.
Sexual immorality and sensuality are other areas of pitfall. How many people have allowed their hormones to cloud their judgment! It really is a darkness. I know people who have chased after romantic-yet-illicit love affairs and it’s very much like a dark cloud covered their lives. This is an important one to be aware of as it can so easily ensnare us with bondage.
Discord and jealousy are two other form of darkness — relational ones. How many dark clouds of drama have resulted from these! Think of the anger and discouragement and depression caused by these destructive twins!
Make no provision for the flesh. So often we set ourselves up for failure by not being attentive. We can help ourselves put ourselves in a position to succeed if we make provisions for the spirit instead of the flesh.
Here’s a great example. I have a friend whose thought life was being taken down by some sensual displays he drove past every day on his way to work. He found his eyes wandering there every day as he drove past. One day, he confessed this to me and made the commitment to either divert his eyes away or drive a different route. By doing this he found victory by making no provisions for the flesh. That’s exactly what Paul’s talking about here. It’s being attentive to my dark areas of vulnerability and proactively attending to them so we don’t fall into their traps of darkness.