We live in a "Just Say No" culture. We teach it in our schools, we teach it on television, and many of us have said it numerous times to our own kids. The more I look into the effects of this negative approach to making decisions, I am beginning to think that just say yes might be a better approach. I am not sure if the studies have come out on this yet, but I have my suspicions that the "Just Say No" campaign is really a complete failure.
"Just Say No" to teen sex... The US has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. There are 750,000 teen pregnancies annually. Eight in ten of these pregnancies are unintended and 81 percent are to unmarried teens. The United States’ teen pregnancy rate is over six times that of the Netherlands, almost four times that of Germany, and almost three times that of France. In addition to pregnancy, the abortion rate in this country is back on the increase again. In the United States, the teen abortion rate is more than twice that of Germany and of the Netherlands.
"Just Say No" to drugs... By the time the average kid hits the twelfth grade, 47% of them will have used an illicit drug of some kind. Marijuana, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and other prescription narcotics use is on an increase and some experts say that pills are the new gateway drug amongst teenagers. In spite of our efforts as a nation, we are in a time when "Just Say No" seems much like meaningless rhetoric.
"Just Say Yes."
We, as human beings, make our decisions and choices based on the things that we desire. When we desire the things of the flesh then our bodies can be used against us and destroy us at any moment. Unwanted pregnancy, abortion, drug use, and violence are all ways for the devil to get hold of our lives and control us. And this isn't just a problem amongst our teenagers. When sin reigns in our body, we are subject to it and will always give in.
Rom 6:12-14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
There is a much better way. By giving our lives to Jesus Christ. When we give over our heart to the Lord we are a new creature. 2Co 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. New things have come... A new way of thinking, a new way of relating to others, and a new way of living. When we accept Jesus to lead us then we are filled with the spirit of God and not the spirit of this world.
Rom 6:12-14 tells us to not obey the lusts of sin but to present our bodies to God as one who is alive from the dead. And that sin shall not master over us because we are under grace. We have been made alive in Christ and our desires should reflect that. When we desire purity over sexual promiscuity the unwanted pregnancy rate will drop. When we value human life at the moment of conception and desire to see the unborn protected then the abortion rate will decrease. And when we desire to be like Christ and right minded our use of illegal drugs and alcohol will no longer have a grip on our life. We need Him to help us break the bondage of sin.
God will grant us the desires of our heart. When our desires line up with His desires then it is a beautiful thing. Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Where are your desires today? Lust, greed, sexual promiscuity, gossip, slander... the list goes on and on.
I pray that you will desire Jesus more today than ever before. That you will desire purity, holiness, righteousness, and godliness. That the ways of Christ will flow out of you and spill over onto the people you encounter. Just say YES to Jesus today and may the desires of your heart be in unison with Him. Amen.