I think most of us have seen the old war on drugs commercial, “Just say no!” No is a critical word in life. There is much in life that we get to say yes to. There is also much in life we should say no to. And if you didn’t catch the implication of the last statement, it’s that there is the exercise of free will there. You can choose whether to say yes or no to different things in life. God made us uniquely different from every creature in this world in a number of ways—one of those being we are given free will to choose and to make our own decisions.
We all know that that can backfire. We all know we’ve made too many bad choices. We all know that we’ve wondered why it seems that God tolerates the evil is this world. It isn’t about God tolerating evil—it’s about giving people the right to choose. He is a God of love and the very nature of love is that it gives freedom and the right to choose. The world has much evil because of a never-ending flow of bad choices. Bad choices lead to hurt and pain for far more than just the individual that is making them.
Saying no is good. Saying no to the piece of dessert when you are overweight and trying to lose weight is good. Saying no to the temptation to skip your daily exercise routine because you’re feeling overly tired is good. Saying no to the child that is acting unruly is good. Saying no to the pornography spam that has invaded your email inbox is good.
Strength comes from resistance. When you lift weights or exercise, you are creating a form of resistance to strengthen your muscles. The blessing is this: muscle strength does form and your ability to resist grows stronger.
Seems like some of the church is afraid to talk about the no’s that God gives out in His Word. Seems like the body of Christ is afraid someone will get the impression that the Bible, Jesus, and church are just about no’s and dos and don’ts. I guess that could happen if God’s motives weren’t explained and if people weren’t taught that every “no” carries a message of love.
I’ve been practicing living in the yeses and the no’s of God all my Christian life. As I said, they both carry His heart of love. There is much that He encourages me to do that brings great blessing into my life. I’ve also been living in the no’s because they bombard me every day; spiritually, mentally, and physically. Spiritually, God tells me that I get to yes—draw near to Him and fellowship with Him. But my busy days try to push back and shout, “There isn’t enough time—you’ve got too much to do and you need more sleep.” To the Lord I say yes and to the temptations to miss this great daily opportunity with Jesus I say no.
I’ve been working at exercising every day and trying to lose a few pounds. To the promise of God that He would help me “do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” I’ve said, “Yes, and thank you Lord for your help and grace.” To the temptation to eat dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth, I’ve said no and instead put a piece of sugarless bubble gum on my plate for my dessert. Oh how I love those pounds that come off. Oh how I love the Lord’s inward strength helping me. Oh how I love muscle building in my body. Oh how I love to say yes and to say no. It’s a part of the God life!
Deut. 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and cursing-(that which brings our life into contempt and causes pain.) I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life…”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.