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.
That last bit there..."do not think about how to gratify the flesh"; do you have any idea how difficult that is?
Well of course you do if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, it might seem like the normal course of events, but for us Christ Seekers, not so much, or so it is hoped.
Gratifying the flesh includes an encyclopedia of things. It ain't just sex he's talking about. There's the food...yes food. Ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, bacon and anything wrapped in it, cheese. All very gratifying. Eating is wonderful. Unfortunately, many of us live to eat rather than eat to live. We end up bigger around than we are tall.
And there's alcohol. I gave it up. Had nothing to do with anything spiritual. I always say all things in moderation. But it's an offensive thing to my father who I currently reside with so I gave it up. I already offend him too much in other ways. I do remember though always priding myself on the fact that I only ever had two adult beverages a day. You have to be careful though. Beer is tricky. It comes in 12, 16 and 24 oz cans. Two of the last ones there and you start to get more than just a bit smiley faced if you know what I mean.
There's also drugs legal and illegal. Just remember a prescription will not prevent recreational use. Watch those pain meds. Do you really need them or do they make you feel better in other ways? Just think about that. I still occasionally get the urge to get a tattoo, grow a pony tail, move to Colorado and get some special meds for my arthritis or whatever else I can use to justify it.
The flesh is a tricky thing. When it feels bad, it pushes us to self medicate in ways that are sometimes self destructive. Bad brain chemistry can do this. Depression can do this. Mental illness. Sexual issues. Simply the desire to avoid the realities of life can do this. There are many ways to self medicate and I have mentioned a few here.
The best way to avoid the need to gratify the flesh is to stay busy. Do productive things. Create. Or maybe even help someone or some charitable organization. Go on a mission trip.
Distraction is the ticket. Sometimes a higher quality of company will work - new friends.
If you are feeling the urge to over indulge yourself in something, back away from the freezer, put the ice cream scoop away and go outside and get some exercise. Go fishing. Call a friend. Go to a movie. Busy the mind and use it as intended. Don't feed your head with anything that will make it dull or your body with anything that will make it die prematurely.
Why do I know about these things you ask? Brother, let me tell you, I know how to gratify my flesh. What I'm learning now is how to feed my spirit. It is fun on a much higher plane. I can't really explain it with words except to say, I am left with contentment and joy in ways I have never experienced before. Jesus does that for me. And while He is addictive, he is not dangerous.
Matthew 11:28 ff
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”