Last week we sent out an invitation, a call to repentance. We asked a question, Will you say yes?
I know that many in reply would say, I want to say yes but it’s soo hard! Or I’ve said yes on previous occasions and I have not been able to follow through.
So, for this week’s post we are going to discuss something which I think is very important particularly in the age we live in.
Why is it soo hard to say Yes to God?
To begin this discussion, I will start with one of the most encouraging and humbling thoughts from the Apostle Paul,
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
Romans 7:14-25 NLT
I love how honest Paul is about his struggles, yet he does not condemn himself. He acknowledges his humanity and its inherent desire to sin but also crucially, he acknowledges the power of Christ’s divinity to break free from the shackles of sin. I have had and still have similar struggles too and it is refreshing to know that I am not alone.
To delve deeper into the weight of our humanity, I would like to discuss something that I learnt from the ministry of Pastor Mike Todd.
All of us have inherited characteristic traits through our bloodlines. Some of these will be good and some of these will be bad. Consequently, we all struggle with different sins and something that might affect you might not affect me at all. For example, someone may struggle pride but that same person may have no problem with jealousy. Which is why we should never compare ourselves with others!
Each of us is tasked to build on the good traits we have inherited and work with God to renew our minds and transform the bad traits into the fruit of the Spirit. So that when we have children of our own we pass down good traits to them.
This was the life-changing truth that I learnt from Pastor Mike Todd!
What you deal with in your lifetime, your children will not have to struggle with!
This is why this is soo important! We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds not just for ourselves but for our future generations. I am not saying it is easy but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible!
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT
Now for the practicalities of how to say yes to God. I have drilled it down to three main points:
1. Make a decision
This is the easier part, all you need to do is decide. Speak to God in your heart and just say, « Yes ». Or words to that effect.
2. Expect Opposition
Now comes the harder part. Expect opposition. This will come in many forms. From your thoughts, to the enemy (ie the devil trying to sell you lies), to other people.
Let’s take these one by one.
You will have thoughts that will come to challenge the decision that you have made. Try and think of your mind like a castle. You cannot control the thoughts that come to the gate but you CAN control the thoughts that you let in and allow to run around the castle.
The principle here is challenge your thoughts. If it is not going to support your decision to follow God. Bin it at the gate.
Next the enemy, the devil is not just going to let you make a decision to follow God and not try to disrupt it. He will come and try and use one his favourite tools to get you off-track. So watch out for offense, shame, self-righteousness, disappointment or anxiety. Again, fight these at the gate of the castle by responding with the WORD.
Here I will share a principle I learnt from my father, Pastor Olubi Johnson. The Devil is impatient. He will initially attack your mind with a bombardment of negative thoughts and use all his tricks but, if you just hold on and keep replying with the WORD, he will eventually get tired and go away at least for a while.
Now about other people. Expect people to disparage you and point out your failings and your mistakes. Expect them to doubt that you can ever change. Expect them to challenge that you even really know God. This will often come from the closest people to you.
However, also expect people to encourage you. Expect them to give you tips about how you can improve. Expect them to celebrate your progress. Sometimes, even the same person in two different conversations can be a detractor or encourager.
Again, hold fast to the helpful and bin the negatives at the gate.
3. Stick with it
This is the hardest part. The follow-through. This is where discipline and determination come in. You have to realise that this is not based on feelings. Many times you will not feel like praying or studying the word but you still go ahead and do it. Sometimes you will not feel God’s presence but you still go ahead and worship. This is how we build maturity and become rooted and grounded in His love.
Remember you are fully backed by God and you can always run to Him when you are struggling. Have honest conversations. God is big enough to handle your questions. He will be there to help you with the follow-through.
“You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me! Since your love for me is constant and endless, I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!”
Psalms 138:8 TPT
For this week’s modern-day psalm, I have chosen Turning Around for Me by Vashawn Mitchell. Find the link here https://youtu.be/ZzbKwcC-Xmo I trust it will bless you.