Saying “Yes” to God and “No” to the World
Every Christian goes through seasons of their life when they face temptation. And as a young adult in today's culture, living for God is not easy. Maybe you’ve decided to go into this new year completely focused on God.
But then the mean girl at school started spreading rumors about you. Or the popular one invited you to a party.
Although I have my own share of mistakes, I am now terrified of stepping out of God’s will for my life. I’m terrified of leaving him to do things my way, just to satisfy my own fleshly desires. I know that—if I leave God, I will not receive His best for my life.
“The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”
~2 Chron. 15:2 (emphasis mine)
On the other hand, when I make decisions that God would be pleased with, I am filled with peace because I know that my life is in his hands. I also know that He has incredible plans for me—and the only way that those plans will unfold is if I stay in His will for my life.
Besides, Jesus gave His life for me. It would only make sense to live my life for Him.
However, Satan will do His best to lead you astray by disguising temptation to make it appealing. That is exactly how he persuaded Eve into taking a bite of the apple. The Enemy made the fruit seem completely harmless and worth the bite. Genesis 3:6 says that Eve was convinced that “the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some fruit and ate it.”
I think we all know what happened after that. (See Gen. 3:14-24.)
Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, they were no longer in God’s original plan. Don’t you think Eve regretted taking that bite?
When I disobey God, it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because I just think of how God gave Himself for me on the cross. He didn't die for "the world"—he died for me. He died for you. He was literally thinking of you all of those years ago when he was beaten to death, and he sacrificed himself so that you could have True life. He sacrificed himself so you could find freedom in Him—freedom from your sin, freedom from the world, and freedom to begin a loving relationship with Him.
“—Dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded—constantly tuned to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one.”
~Col. 1:22-23 (emphasis mine)
Don't take this opportunity for granted. And be careful not to say, "Oh, I have the rest of my life to live for God. But I'm only young once. Besides, I still go to church every Sunday.”
It’s impossible to live both for God and the world. Because when we say “yes” to the world, we end up saying “no” to God. There is no in between.
"But because you are lukewarm—neither hot, nor cold—I am ready to spit you out of my mouth."
~Revelation 3:16 (emphasis mine)
"Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
~Matthew 7:21 (emphasis mine)
“So if you want an eternal home, leave your evil, low-down ways and live good lives.”
“You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that ‘he’s a fiercely jealous lover.’ And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find.”
Your youth is the prime time to cultivate a relationship with God, which can be the foundation for the rest of your life. Whether you realize this or not, the habits you form now will most likely continue throughout the rest of your life.
Also, don't try to focus so much on being a "good person". In other words, don't try to avoid temptation for the sake of keeping up a good performance. When we do that, we are avoiding temptation through our own strength and not God's. When we do that, we are not avoiding temptation for the right reasons. And then we will eventually become exhausted and give up.
However, when we have a relationship with God, we will no longer have a desire to please our sinful selves. We can always say no to temptation through His strength.
"The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it."
~1 Corinthians 10:13
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
~Romans 8:5-6 (Emphasis mine)
God has so much in store for you. He wants to have a lasting relationship with you, and He cannot wait to reveal His plans for you. But the only way those plans can unfold is if you seek Him with all your heart and strive to please Him with every decision that you make.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
“No one has ever seen this,
and no one has ever heard about it.
No one has ever imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.”
~1 Corin. 2:9 (emphasis mine)
When we say no to sin and yes to God, it’s not like we’re saying “no” to a fun life and “yes” to a boring one. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Because when we live in sin, we’re actually living in bondage.
However, when we live for God, we’re saying “yes” to an abundant life.
And “yes” to living a life of freedom.
“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”