The Art of Saying ‘No’

It is hard to say no. Wether it is because we don’t want to disappoint our friends or family, or whether it is because we don’t want to miss out on fun or advancement – saying no is a routinely difficult thing for many of us. But as I was thinking more about yesterday’s post about using our time as a way of loving God and His people, I started thinking about this statement:

The mark of Christian maturity is not found in our ability to say ‘yes’, it is in our ability to say ‘no.’

There are many good and Godly things that are going to compete for your time. These may be bible studies, missions trips, small groups, etc. We can easily fill our schedules with religious activity, but is that what God wants for and from us? I don’t think so. I think what God wants is for us to be faithful in doing the things that we were made and called to do for the season of life we are in.

As a personal example, God has called me to the place of prayer – 20 hours a week spent in prayer, intercession and study for His people. Twenty hours a week is a long time to do something that very few people value very much. But it is the standard God has set for me. It may be more glamorous to teach a bible study, or counsel or do some other, more noticable kind of work, but I would be disobedient if that work took me from those 20 hours of prayer. So, I find myself saying no to somethings and rearranging my schedule to make everything fit. It is a little irritating (I have had to say no to come really cool opportunities!), but I find myself more and more at peace. It is good, and I believe pleases God, to be faithful to do the things we are called to do and to not let our devotion dissipate in the goings-on of the world around us.

So, church, I give you freedom to say no, especially to me. 😉 There is time enough that you don’t need to come to every bible study, there are people enough that you don’t need to do every job. If you have small children at home, be at home, make the most of those years and don’t feel guilty that you aren’t “doing your share.” The season of life you are in will change as your kids grow older and then you will have the opportunity to come to bible studies or volunteer and “cover” for other families with young children. We are all in this together. So be at peace in your place and be faithful to love whomever God has given you at this time (spouse, children, coworkers). As you are faithful, more opportunities will come – some of which God wants you to walk into and some that might distract you from your purpose. Cultivate discernment and sensativity to the Spirit… He wont lead you wrong.


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