Michael and I taught at a men’s correctional facility. This particular Wednesday night it was Michael’s turn to teach. He was addressing the question so many of the men kept asking him over the last few weeks. “How do you not give into the sin that keeps tempting you?”
There were so many varied crimes that these men had committed. There were so many addictions they were struggling with: pornography, adultery, lust, gambling, drinking, smoking – you name it they had it.
Tonight Michael was going to share with the men the secret that had kept him from giving into temptation. As the men were gathered in a circle Michael handed out small pieces of paper with just a few words written on them. Then he began to tell them “This is what you are going to say every time that temptation comes your way. You will memorize it. You will carry it with you.” As the men unfolded the paper it said only three words:
NOT AN OPTION.
“You see” he continued “When you are tempted the first mistake that you make is to think you have an option. The devil wants you to believe that it is okay to have an affair, to look at porn, to have sex outside of marriage – you will now retrain your mind to understand that if you want your soul saved from hell these temptations are NOT AN OPTION.”
He went on to explain that every temptation begins with us “playing” with the idea. We toy with it. We ponder it. We then begin to consider it. Finally after we are convinced we are going to do it – we follow through with the action. Michael told them. As soon as that temptation comes into your brain you don’t even allow time to consider it. You firmly say “NOT AN OPTION.” You say it each and every time that temptation comes into your mind. When the lesson was done we all prayed.
The rest of the year we heard from many men who showed us their tattered piece of paper with the saying on it – countless men who said that just by saying those three words it kept them from entering into temptation. Life is short. One day you and I will give account of all our actions. The bible clearly tells us that adulterers, liars, homosexuals, thieves, fornicators (those who practice sex outside of marriage) will be cast into hell.
It is going to be a very sad day for those who call themselves “Christians” yet their actions are not lined up with the word of God. What are you tempted to do that you know is wrong? Today may be your last day on earth. Don’t take a chance. Right now write “NOT AN OPTION” on a piece of paper. Keep it with you. When that wrong thought comes, say it out loud.
Those 3 small words could save your soul.