How would anyone be able to consistently say no to a strong desire that is sinful? How would someone who loves to eat, say no to a life of periodic gluttony? How would a man full of testosterone say no to pornography on the internet? How would a woman who loves clothing say no to clothing found on sale even if she cannot afford it? How would a person with an opposite-sex attraction say no to premarital or extra-marital sex? Why would a person who has a same-sex attraction say no to a gay lifestyle? How does a person say no to something that is clearly a sin according to the Bible?
Paul wrote in Romans 7:14-15 “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” He experienced the difficulty of saying no to sinful behavior. A life devoted to just saying no to sin is probably a life indulged in sin. It is nearly impossible to consistently and definitively say no to the desires that elicit sin.
As Christians we can say no to sin because Jesus gives us an alternative script! We are not called upon by God to continually just say no to our desires. Instead, God calls us to say a greater “Yes!” to something better. We don’t just say no to the desires of sin, but we say a greater “Yes!” to Jesus and the things that are above.
People do it all the time for the things that are important to them.
A pregnant woman says “No!” to alcohol, because she is saying a greater “Yes!” to the baby within her womb.
A father says “No!” to career advancement because he says “Yes!” to his family time.
A church says “No” to political correctness because it says “Yes” to the authority of Scripture.
No matter what our desire may be, we can say “No” to it, because we are going to say a greater “Yes!” to something far better.
Rather than just say “No!” we say a greater “Yes!” to Jesus. We say a greater “Yes!” to God’s truth. We say a greater “Yes!” to holiness.
We are all sinners with desires that can lead us astray. Saying a greater “Yes!” to Jesus can help keep us from doing the very thing we hate to do… succumbing to desires that lead to sin.
Most of us already know by experience that just saying “No!” to sin only goes so far in helping us. Saying a greater “Yes!” to Jesus can lead us to ways of overcoming sin and living a life that is holy and full of joy.
Let’s say a greater “Yes!” to Jesus and see where that leads us.
Something to think about…