11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber,because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Dissension and jealousy, on the other hand, are not nocturnal and can do SO much damage in so many ways, seen and unseen. This is probably why there is quite a bit of talk in the New Testament about unity.
I love verse 14. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Something I've been thinking about a lot is how to keep God at the forefront of my life, both in internal dialogue and outward action. I watch Dr. Phil sometimes while I fold laundry in the afternoon. I don't always agree with him on everything, but a lot of what he says is very practical, common sense. He talks quite a bit about internal dialogue. The way you talk internally to yourself about things can dramatically affect the way you perceive and respond to things around you. How do we control our internal dialogue? It is affected HUGELY by the diet we feed our minds and hearts. If we have a diet that consists of a lot of entertainment magazines, fashion magazines, romance novels, off-colour sitcoms, music full of sexual references and so on, our internal dialogue about what the world is like and how we should look, act, and even feel, are affected and changed by that diet. If we feed our minds and hearts from the Bible, Christian literature, music with clean lyrics, etc, our attitudes change, our responses to stimulus and triggers around us changes, our perception of ourselves and the world we live in changes... If we want to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh, then we need to spend more time feeding our spirits wholesome, "nutritious" messages.
I am not at all a totalitarian. It doesn't have to be all of one and none of another. Just like we need to limit junk food to have healthy bodies, we need to do the same for our spirits. That is going to look somewhat different for everybody. There is nothing wrong with watching secular movies, reading books or listening to music that is not "Christian" (some being better than others, of course, and you have to determine where you draw the lines for yourself, as everyone is affected somewhat differently based on their own areas of weakness). Just like one person can eat a few pieces of chocolate without finishing the whole package and the next person can't stop until it's all gone, someone who struggles with body image will have their perceptions affected strongly by fashion or fitness magazines, where someone who is more comfortable with their body image is not as affected by them, for example.
But spend more time in the Word and you'll soon start to see a shift in your perspectives. The desires of the Spirit will become more important than the desires of the flesh!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Romans 14:1-4.