You Have the Power to Say ‘No’

"But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are now controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you." (Romans 8:9 NLT)

Some people today insist that we should just give in to any desire that comes our way. It's a destructive mindset. Just because you have the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake doesn't mean it's good for you.

Romans 8:9 says, "But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are now controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you" (NLT).

Before you became a believer, you only had willpower to fight against temptations. But it never was enough. You were relatively powerless against the great cravings that drove you.

As a believer, now you've got the Holy Spirit - and a new ability to say "no." You still have the same compulsions, desires, lusts, and impulses you had before you began a relationship with Jesus, but now the power of God resides inside of you. Now you can say "no."

Galatians 5:16 says, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves." The Bible doesn't say you won't have sinful desires after you become a Christian, but it says the Holy Spirit will help you choose not to satisfy them.

If you ever hear someone say, "I'm a Christian, but I couldn't stop myself," they're lying. They simply never called on the power of the Holy Spirit in the moment of temptation.

You have the power to say "no." Use it.

Talk It Over

  • What's dragging down your spiritual life that you need to say "no" to?
  • What factors (like friends, family, work, and other external stresses) make it difficult for you to say "no" to temptations you're facing? How can you reduce some of those factors?
  • Who can encourage you and help you say "no" to temptations?


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Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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