Week 37: Just Say No

Today’s Text: Titus

Key Text: Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age….

The old anti-drug campaign has gotten very mixed reviews – the “Just Say No” to drugs campaign, that is.

Some say it has been pretty good – telling young people especially – that drugs are no plaything and empowering them to walk away before any harm is done.

Others says it isn’t that simple – you can’t “just say No” and easily walk away – especially if you are already hooked.

This isn’t the place to finish that debate. Rather, I invite you to consider another “Just say No” campaign that was around long before the problem of substance abuse as we know it today.

It is the spiritual issue addresses by Titus – and the promise he says that comes with “the grace of God that brings salvation….”

Titus claims you actually can say “No” to things like ungodliness and worldly passions.

He claims you actually can be transformed in such a way that you find yourself wanting to, in contrast to your old worldly self, have a real desire “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives….”

There’s the key, I think.

It’s found in that word transformed.

Though theologians might argue over exactly how, or even why, it happens – they agree it does.

God’s grace brings real, profound, permanent transformation and that allows you to live differently – perhaps radically different than before.

It isn’t about just changing your behavior in some superficial way.

It’s about real, deep, total transformation.

Some might say it’s that “born again” thing Jesus talked about.

Is it possible?

The historic Christian witness is that indeed it is.

So, can you “Just Say No” to drugs?

Can you “Just Say No” to any idol that has gotten in the way of your relationship with God?

Yes, I believe you can.

It isn’t easy though. It comes with risk. It can be frightening and difficult to do.

It can be done though.

Countless followers of Christ have proven it can.

So, “Just Say No” to that which would do you harm.

Embrace God instead; enlist God’s help in the transformative process of spiritual growth which can come via God’s amazing grace.

Begin again – fresh – be transformed – by the power of the living God.

It can be done…and your life will never be the same again.

Just say yes.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

2 comments

  1. Paul, we will begin a study of Titus in the NOAH class at Battery Park next Sunday. Christian Heckman will be teaching this series. I’m going to send this to him. I love your posts! Hooe all is going well!

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