Former first lady, Nancy reagan, in her efforts to stop drug usage among young people was asked what to say to kids to help them to stay away from them. Her response was to tell them to “Just say no!” This, of course makes lots of sense and ultimately became a slogan for drug prevention. Choruses of young people going through drug awareness programs cheered in unison, “Just say no!” Doubtlessly, this helped many of our young people, but I can’t help but wonder how many more might have been helped and in so many more ways, if the chant had instead been, “Just say…Jesus!”
Now, of course, I mean to say much more than simply sloganizing our Lord’s name like some kind of charm to ward off evil spirits or something. What I mean to say is that Jesus, not just a moralistic “No!”, is the true answer to the devasting problems that sin creates in our lives. So many times, “No!” just isn’t enough to successfully fend off temptation. “No!” isn’t enough to give me any positive direction or meaning in life. “No!” isn’t enough to salve a guilt laden conscience. And “No!” will never be able to deal with the ultimate problem of forgiveness from God. “No!” cannot give hope or love or justice or eternal life. But “Jesus,” well, that’s a different story.
“Jesus” provides us with motivation and ability to say “No!” to temptation through what is known in the Scriptures as being “crucified with Christ” or “putting off the old man”. “Jesus” provides mankind with real meaning and a positive direction—”No” only states what we don’t desire to do. “Jesus,” through His death, burial, and resurrection has provided cleansing to the burdened conscience, solved the problem of forgiveness from God, and blesses us with joy in the hope of Heaven. He gives us patience in the face of affliction or trial; love that is infinitely wide, long, high, and deep (Eph. 3:18); a calling to justice and service; and a meaningful life guided by eternal truth and wisdom. “Jesus” actually provides us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3).
So, what shall we say to endangered, tempted, confused, and hopeless men, women, and children? Just say…Jesus! (and all that it rightly implies). It’s the end to more problems than you can shake a stick at; and it’s the real beginning to a drug-free day and much, much more!