The Answer is Still No

I’m sure you are getting plenty of suggestions for binge-watching during this time of sheltering in place at home. But I’ll throw in one more. It’s on the Christian streaming service Pure Flix. It’s called “The Encounter,” based on the movie of the same name. It’s an anthology series that has Jesus, played by actor Bruce Marchiano, physically appear to people who need Him (usually despite the fact they don’t realize they need Him). The Biblical messages are always quite good, but one, in particular, spoke to me.

A high school junior, and devout Christ-follower, prays to Jesus to have the prom king ask her out. Jesus, appearing as a substitute Spanish teacher, tells her the answer is no. Despite this, the boy does ask her to the prom. It ends badly. In fact, Jesus needs to convince her to leave before the police arrive. The girl is deeply confused. The boy asked her out. Clearly, Jesus changed His mine and answered her prayer with a “yes.” Marchiano’s Jesus then tells her: “I don’t change My mind. You disobeyed Me.” You might want to take a second to ponder that. I did after seeing this episode.

How often in our lives do we ask Jesus for something, He says no, yet He allows us the free will to ignore Him and do it anyway? Take a moment and try to think of the times when you know you were getting a stop sign from the Holy Spirit and decided to blow through it. Instead of your foot on an accelerator, you used the amazing power of rationalization.

“I know what I’m about to say could be hurtful, but I’m sure God would want me to show the other person why they’re wrong.” Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NIV): The answer is still no.

“Yes, I love my spouse. But this new person in my life makes me happy. I’m sure God wants me to be happy” (just try finding a longtime pastor who hasn’t heard this one). But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Proverbs 6:32 (NIV): The answer is still no.

“Look, they’re just fantasies. I wouldn’t really cheat on my spouse, or seek revenge on the person who wronged me, or cheat on my taxes, or embezzle money from my employer. It’s just fun to think about these things.” Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8(NIV): The answer is still no.

I’m blessed, I usually get a ping from the Holy Spirit that I actually feel in my chest: “don’t say that, don’t do that, don’t think that.” I think many of us do. But we can become quite skilled at ignoring them. So, what’s the solution? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Not all opportunities are a “yes” from God. But you already knew that. Still, it never hurts to be reminded that the Spirit not only puts up stop signs, but Scripture is filled with “stop ahead” signs. Safe travels on the path to eternity.

This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere.

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