Friday, June 19, 2009

Resistance vs. Persistance

Saying “no” (resistance) has its place. Just read Proverbs 1 and you’ll see that truth clearly communicated. But it doesn’t have the power that saying “yes” (persistence) does. And that is plainly illustrated in Proverbs 2. Bottom line? Only an deep, internal “yes” brings any meaning to the difficult, external “no’s”.

The New Testament lays out the same process and principle in Colossians 2 and Titus 2. Paul taught us in both places (Col. 2:20-23 and Titus 2:11-14) that there is both a “no” and a “yes” in the life of every believer. We should deny worldliness and ungodliness; we should resist sin; we should stand against our enemy, Satan. But a life that consists of only “no’s” – rules with no reasoning – leads to frustration and eventually a hypocritical existence (see Col. 2:23). Paul bluntly said that a life of only “no’s” is beyond boring. It is insanely futile. Blindly useless. Strikingly stupid. To use his exact words, "of no value."

But grace gives us the reason we need to say “no.” Grace is the deep “yes” of every real believer’s life. Because the Holy Spirit of God will give real sons and daughters of God the desire to say “yes” to Jesus, we can say “no” to Satan…to the world, the flesh, and the devil…to the lies he tells us that would lead us astray and stomp out our spiritual influence. But only after we say “yes” to Jesus. Otherwise, our resistance is temporary at best. Human effort will wear out. You will, as a mere man, get tired. You only have so many “no’s in you apart from the power of God the Ghost in you.

Remember Moses? He saw through the temporary attraction of being in Pharaoh’s family and said “yes” to the deeper call of God upon his life by owning up to who he really was. And remember Jesus himself? He endured the cross and said “yes” because of a deeper love for his Father.

If your life is a list of ridiculous rules with no reasoning, get a clue. Jesus demands more than “white knuckle Christianity” from those who say they truly follow him. And he delivers more than that as well. He delivers a power through his Spirit that enables us to do more than resist; it allows us to persist. Chase his will. Follow hard after him. Fight the good fight and finish the course. If that’s what you really want, then live for the deeper “yes” – knowing Jesus. Only in “knowing Him” does “no-ing them” make any sense and contain any lasting significance.

1 comment:

Dean Spencer said...

I like how this applies to saying "no" to self. A person can be in the sin/confess/sin/confess stage and not realize that saying "no" is not all there is. Sorry, a lot of double negatives. Anyway, I like how God gives us His Spirit to say "yes" to the things that are from Him that counteracts the thing that we're trying to say "no" to. And the best part is that it's all about God and Him making it possible for us to do it anyway. Thanks for sharing this Todd!