Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV).
You know we can say “no,” right? We get to say “no” to things that can harm us because the Spirit of Jesus has made us free to do so.
Tempted to mouth off to the guy in the next lane? You don’t have to. Surfing to the porn sites? You don’t have to do that. Wanting something bad to happen to the woman who got “your” promotion? You don’t have to do that either. Flirting to arrange a tryst? Nope, you don’t have to do that.
Jesus gave us “no.” We have been blessed with the privilege of saying no, of walking away, of changing our minds, of re-training our thoughts and habits. The Spirit that Jesus promised us, then gave at Pentecost, has taken up residence in our lives. Through Him, we don’t have to live by the rules of this world anymore. The lust, greed, avarice that come with living through our sinful nature can be effectively defeated with that little word, no.
And then the hard work begins. You know that’s true as well. It’s tough to work up the courage to say no, but it’s even tougher to stand by it, to let our no’s mean no. Even when we instinctively know that our sinful desires are harmful to us; that no good comes from our foul language, that affair, my evil thoughts or yours. Even when we know deep inside that these things can hurt, and even when we also know Jesus lives and breathes through us, it’s still so tough to say no and mean it. To not backslide. To not stick a toe back in the pool of sin because, after all, a little touch can’t hurt, can it?
Yes, actually it can.
It can hurt because living in the filth of our sins isn’t what Christ has in store for His people. He paid for our reservations in a new land, our mansions on a new estate. We aren’t citizens of this world any longer. His resurrection paid for us to be resident aliens of Heaven living here on the earth below. We’re part of it now; we’re citizens now; we belong to Jesus and His Paradise now, and eventually we’ll be there with Him.
Until then, we get to say “no” when our pet sins come calling. You know they do; you know they will. When that happens, remember He gave us the freedom to resist, then He stands with us as we make our stand. Make yours now. Say “no” today.
For further reading: Romans 13:14, 1 Corinthians 10:14, Galatians 5:16, Hebrews 11:13, James 5:11 Peter 2:12
Savior Lord Jesus, strengthen me when I say “no,” and stand with me to resist the temptations when the sins of my life try to lure me back.