I’ve always had trouble using the word no. So I thought maybe looking up the definition would help me. In the context we’re going to use “no” today, Webster’s defines it as “to express negation, dissent, denial, refusal.” Hmmm… very negative definition. In actuality, learning to say no can make things in life more positive. Let’s spin it differently:
Negation? Do you realize that by saying no, you are actually AFFIRMING your desire to incorporate more discipline, focus, and health into your life?
Dissent? How about the fact that saying no can mean you are AGREEING with God and shutting down the DISSENT that happens in your heart when you know you should say no, but say yes anyway?
Denial? Actually… you’re ACCEPTING the fact that God has a specific purpose(s) for you. He’s just waiting for you to let go of those things that are “permissible but not beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Refusal? By learning to say no, you are beginning the process of INSISTING that your life only include the beneficial and constructive things.
I don’t know what it is you need to let go of, but I’m pretty sure we all have some things. For me this week, it’s been laziness. My Bible reading has not been what it has been in past weeks, but I’m thankful that God taught me something from it. He’s always trying to teach us, if we’ll pay attention.
There are lots of things in our lives that we can/should say no to. Sometimes there are fun things that we need to say no to. Sometimes we need to say no to just sitting down and turning on the TV…. or the computer. Sometimes there are service opportunities that we need to say no to. Sometimes we need to say no to that chocolate… or that urge to stay home from the gym. Sometimes we just need to say no to ourselves… and to our own laziness.
God holds the ultimate plan. And his plan includes all of us little people that He allowed to be born. Our job is to seek, listen, trust, and worship. Our individual lives have specific purposes in the plan, and unfortunately we can miss those purposes if we are too distracted by “permissible but not beneficial” things.
I would offer an alternative definition to the word “no”: “to take a step toward positive, focused, disciplined change in your life.” Believe it? Trust me. I have lived it and am continuing to live it. “No” is a powerful word.
Later on in 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul reminds us of this: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So what in your life doesn’t fit this? If you’re trying to put your focus in too many different directions… or even if there are just areas that you can’t say no to… those areas of your life are probably not glorifying God. He didn’t call us to be scattered. Or undisciplined. And at 38, I’m just now learning this… the hard way.
So… what do you need to say no to today?