Victory over Sin by Saying Yes

The Apostle Paul writes something interesting about his own spiritual journey in Romans 7: "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Romans 7:15-19 NKJV

Paul was trying to do what so many of us do all the time - overcome sin by saying "no" to it. I have some bad news- you can't overcome sin by saying "no". The reason is what Paul says here- sin dwells within us. This is the sin nature - a propensity to keep sinning. We have the desire to do good, but just as Paul discovered, when we look within ourselves, how to perform what is good we do not find.

There is good news though - an answer to this problem, and Jesus shared it with his disciples. When Jesus told the original Christ-followers He was going away from them, John 16:6 says "sorrow filled their heart". Imagine these guys...Peter, James, John and the rest. They had left everything and had been LIVING with Jesus for 3 years! Imagine sitting at Jesus feet day after day, learning from Him. They say a new way of living, not just from His teachings, but watching how He lived, how he loved people, the power of the Holy Spirit working through him to do miracles, and a holiness they never realized was possible. He told them they could live holy lives, too. The believed Him, because they saw Him live it out every day. They believed their lives could be different.

Then one day he told them, "But now I go away to Him who sent Me" and sorrow filled their hearts. They may have wondered what would happen to them- would they each return to the sinful, unfulfilled, meaningless lives that they had before they met Jesus?

But it is at this point that Jesus reveals something extremely important to every Christ-follower. In John 16:7 - "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."