When battling sin or addiction, especially sexual sin, we often feel the pressure to change everything all at once. We have to completely give up that particular sin and rededicate our lives to Christ; if we falter and sin again, we think we’ve failed and are back at square one.
We forget Jesus’s gentleness in wooing people to himself and replace it with our own harshness. This makes our failures seem all the more condemning and shameful. With this mindset, it’s harder and harder to pick ourselves back up every time we falter.
Frankly, it’s often asking too much of ourselves to expect to be able to completely give up a sinful habit cold turkey, especially if we’ve been battling it for a while. Sometimes that big “no” is more than we can handle. Fortunately, Jesus’s first priority isn’t that big “no;” He’s after our hearts first and foremost! Anything we can do to turn our hearts toward Him is pleasing to Him. He rejoices even in the baby steps we take to move away from our sin and toward Him!
How can we identify smaller steps we could take, little ways we could say “yes” to move down a path of healing and regeneration?
One thing we could do is try saying “yes” instead of “no.” We all know that it’s easier to say yes to something than to refuse to sin. So instead of focusing your attention on saying “no” to the sin, what could you say “yes” to instead? Maybe you’re always on your phone right before you go to bed, and that’s when the temptation to look at pornography is the strongest. What if you said “yes” to reading a book before bed instead, or to finding another way to wind down that doesn’t involve technology?
When you are called to surrender something and change a particular habit, find some baby steps you could take. What small, practical things could you commit to giving up, and what could replace them? If you’re tempted to sin when you’re alone with a certain person, maybe you need to say “no” to being alone with him/her, but you could say “yes” to being with him/her in a group setting. Instead of logging onto that Internet chat site, video chat with a trusted friend about a funny memory you both share or just about your days.
Jesus delights in you all the time, no matter how many times you commit whatever sin you’re struggling with. But a particular rejoicing takes place in Him (and in you!) whenever you take a step to move closer to Him.
Think of one or two positive things you can say “yes” to today that can replace a sinful habit. Are they reasonable enough for you to stick to? How can you put some intentionality to them? Who can you invite to hold you accountable to those small yeses?
We’d love to hear from you: What’s one small “yes” you can give to Jesus today? Or what’s one small “yes” you’ve given in the past that’s turned into something larger over time?
Yessing with you,