You Have the Power to Say ‘No’
By Rick Warren
“So, dear brothers, you have no obligations whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do” (Romans 8:12 TLB).
I don’t know about you, but I admit there were a lot of things I could not say “no” to before the Holy Spirit came into my life. I wanted to say “no,” but I didn’t.
It really doesn’t matter what you call them, but we all have compulsions, habits, lusts, drives, desires, or attractions that make us feel like we have no choice but to do them. You just can’t help yourself. You just can’t say “no.”
But if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you can say “no.” Romans 8:9 says, “You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all)” (NLT).
Yes, you will still have those desires. But the Holy Spirit will give you the power to say “no” to them; you do not have to satisfy those desires. This is the difference the Spirit of God makes in you. This is how God sets you free from your compulsions.
The worst kind of slave is being a slave to your own natural desires. Some people say, “Well, if it’s natural, why should I limit it?” A lot of things seem natural. It’s natural to be self-centered, but acting on that desire might not be good for your kids or your spouse.
Natural doesn’t mean it’s always good. I might have a natural desire to cheat you out of all your money, but that doesn’t mean I should do it.
When I’ve accepted Christ into my life, I have the Holy Spirit to help power my decisions and say “no” to the natural and “yes” to the spiritually mature choice.
Talk It Over
What are some “natural” desires in your life that can draw you away from Jesus?
What’s your typical strategy for handling those desires — and how well is your strategy working?
How is the Holy Spirit helping you say “no” to the natural and “yes” to spiritually mature choices?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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