Just Say No

Published on Aug 6th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Just Say No

Just Say No

Do you remember the “Just Say No” drug campaign?  Someone, in one of those million dollar think tanks, came up with that brilliant campaign.  Can’t you just picture them sitting around the table fretting over the ever growing drug problem among our young people?  Idea after idea is thrown around concerning what we can do to help our children.  Then someone says, “Why don’t we just tell them to say no”.  The room gets quiet, everyone looks at the chairman of the committee, and he says…  “I like it”, and a campaign is born.  Common sense.  Taking responsibility.  We all realize that the reasons young people take drugs are many and are complex.  We all realize that those reasons need to be and have been addressed.  But, even taking all of that into account, eventually, it is going to come down to a personal decision to “just say no or yes” to taking drugs.

Before the “Just Say No” campaign ever was thought of, Jesus gave the same great advice. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” (Matt 5:29a, 30a).  This is found in the middle of a few thoughts Jesus was giving us about lust.  Pretty straight forward.  He puts the responsibility for purity right back on us.  You cannot control how people dress around you.  You cannot control what society deems is acceptable.  You cannot control what is on TV but you can control the remote.  You can choose to cut the cord on the internet.  If radical amputation is what is needed, then that is what a believer does.  In the second half of those verses Jesus shares a simple point…believers deal with sin, unbelievers do not and are cast into hell.

This principle is not only about sexual lust.  This principle needs to be applied to any area of sin that we struggle with.  Radical amputation.  In Acts 19 believers burned books.  In Hebrews 12 the author tells us to throw off things that hinder us from running the race.  What is that you need to radically amputate in your life so that you are able to walk in a more worthy manner?  Our minds often race to those areas of physical sin that we often struggle with. We need to turn the TV off.  We need to stop frequenting certain places.  We need to walk away from the computer or the refrigerator.  But what about those emotional or spiritual areas that need to be amputated?  Are you a manipulator?  Are you clinging to the idea that you can control your life?  Do you like to hide from problems and just hope they go away?  Do you love to worry?  So many of those need to be amputated or put off from our lives so that God can replace them with the fruit of the Spirit.

I think we too often try to make everything fit into our lives.  We have become experts at accommodation.  If we work hard enough at compartmentalizing our lives we can keep everything.  Jesus shatters that idea.  He says that believers do not act that way.  John tells us that if we say that we love him but walk in darkness…we lie.  No gray area there.  We spend too much energy trying to fit things into our lives when Jesus simply tells us to cut them out.  We waste a lot of time trying to blame others or find excuses as to why we are clinging to a sin and Jesus simplifies it…radical amputation.

Picture another committee meeting.  You are there.  Several of your friends.  Jesus is there. There is a lively discussion about …. (fill in the sin).  You and your friends are discussing how hard it is to live holy in today’s culture.  You are trying to develop strategies and plans to deal with the issue.  Finally, one of you stops and notices that Jesus isn’t saying much.  You ask him what he thinks.  He puts his hands up so you can see that scars that were received so that he could pay for your sins and he simply says, “I paid for that sin.  I rose from the dead in victory over that sin.  I gave you the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  Stop it.  Just say no.  Radically amputate.  Fix your eyes on me.”

God gives us friends and brothers and sisters to help in our walk with Christ.  But if we do not point each other to Christ we will end up finding ways to justify, complicate, or excuse our sin.  We will find that we are often simply discussing ways we can accommodate all things, even sin, into our lives.  We will justify that sin because our marriage is difficult or work is hard.  In and of ourselves we have no answer for sin.  But when we point each other to Christ he does all of the work and he gives us the means to “Just say No”.

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