Will Graham: What’s Keeping You From Saying Yes to Jesus?

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-24).

Subscribe to Decision

Get your own subscription, or renewal, or bless someone by giving Decision Magazine as a gift.

Through my evangelistic ministry around the world, I’ve had the chance to look into the eyes of many people. As I share the Gospel, some respond and some don’t, and their eyes often tell the story of what is taking place in their soul. I’ve seen darkness, and I’ve seen light.

Some, through icy glares, signal a defiance, unwilling to bend a knee to Almighty God. They are the master of their own lives, and don’t want anybody—least of all a deity whom they consider to be “make believe”—telling them what to do.

Others, often through tears, are full of peace, having finally found the true hope of Jesus. They have been born again, surrendering their lives into the hands of a loving Savior who died for them. Eternal joy shines through them.

There is a gulf between the two ends of the spectrum, which I believe can be summed up in this way: Pride and pleasure vs. peace and purpose.

Pride and Pleasure

The symptoms may differ for those who are far from God, but the root is often the same. For many—perhaps even you—resisting the Savior is a matter of pride. This could manifest itself in many ways. 

Perhaps you consider yourself an intellectual and believe that religion is the “opiate of the masses,” as philosopher Karl Marx once said. You see people who are seemingly driven by emotion, and because it’s hard to understand the rationale behind their feelings, you look down on them.

Maybe you’re stridently committed to a political party or ideology, to the point that it has become your god. You’ve heard what the Bible has to say on the issues of the day, but if it disagrees with your political stances, you refuse to accept its truths.

Or perhaps you view the Gospel of Jesus Christ as irrelevant to your life. It’s great for other people, but not for you. Life is going well, and you simply don’t see the need for God, much less a Savior.

Or could it be that you consider yourself a Christian, or at least a spiritual person, but you have yet to surrender to Christ, and therefore you haven’t experienced the hope, forgiveness, love and peace that He offers? You’re skimming the surface, checking the box, maybe even borrowing from various worldviews to form a “religion” that works for you.

If you recognize that one of these examples describes your situation, it could be that there is an issue of pride holding you back from surrendering to Christ as Savior. The Bible has a lot to say about pride and its consequences.

For instance, Proverbs 16:18 reads, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Psalm 10:4: “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’”

Pride causes you to build yourself up to a level greater than God, focusing on yourself instead of on Him. It leaves no room for the Savior, and it sets you on a very dangerous path.

The other side of this coin is pleasure, which often goes hand in hand with pride. Many refuse to turn to Christ because they find fleeting pleasure in the things of this world.

For people like this, their god is usually sex, pornography, relationships, alcohol, drugs, money or materialism. They’re trying to “live their best life” and “follow their heart,” focusing on the moment rather than their eternal soul. They want to be comfortable, have the newest toys and satisfy all of their desires. This puts up a wall that keeps them from seeing their need for God.

Jesus addressed this attitude directly. “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36).

Following Christ comes with a cost, and many aren’t willing to deny themselves and follow Him.

Peace and Purpose

Yes, there’s a cost to following Christ, but, my friends, it is far outweighed by the blessings.

All around the world, I’ve found that the desires of the human heart are very similar. Regardless of origin or upbringing, people want to find peace and purpose, love and contentment. They want to know that their life has meaning. They understand that there has to be more than just the broken human experience. There is a longing in their soul that the world can’t satisfy.

It’s like our Creator has hard-wired us to pursue Him! As C.S. Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity,”  “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

What you are searching for—what people around the world are seeking—can be found in Jesus. When you surrender your life to Christ and are born again, He gives you peace; not just for today, but for eternity. He gives you meaning and purpose, knowing that you are a child of the Living God. He offers a love so deep and rich that He paid the ultimate price, going to the cross for you.

It is all found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” 

The Hour of Decision

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Perhaps you’ve been a faithful follower of Jesus for decades, or maybe you’ve stumbled upon this article by accident. It could be that you made a decision for Jesus years ago, but you’ve wandered far from Him.

Whatever your situation, it’s time to make a decision. Will you continue to chase the fleeting desires of the world—the things that feel good for a moment but ultimately leave you empty and searching for more? Or will you be born again? Will you surrender your soul to the One who made you, who paid the price for your sin on the cross, and who stands with arms open wide?

Don’t let your pride or pleasure stand in the way. Accept Christ’s peace and purpose today. ©2023 BGEA 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.