It is almost the end of September and I have not yet completed my monthly goal for 3-4 written posts. My topics, written on a yellow piece of scrap paper, nudge me to practice what I have yet to write about.
Many practice the spiritual disciplines. While not necessary for the believer, these practices can help us to engage our soul more fully in the process of sanctification. We, after all, do not beat our body as if air boxing, but so as to train it in the matter of living the consecrated life we have now stepped into through that curtain. We now live in the holy place of blessed assurance.
And that means, we get to learn how to say no. I would assert that this too, can become a spiritual discipline. Not to extract us from life or to excuse us from responsibilities, but instead to express our dependency on God first.
Dependency comes first – then the work. Jesus tries to help us understand this in John 6.
John 6:28-29 (NASB)
28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Is the walk with Jesus a life of deprivation? All things that are His He has given to us. There is an abundance beyond what we can enjoy, carry, store or even share. There are plenty of yeses! When you have all you need to over flowing, is it not easier to give away? Is restraint not more readily adopted in our life?
I haven’t found that in my life. The flesh screams for more and always will. Therefore, I must pursue the discipline of no for the sake of soul health. To not say no is to injure my soul.
The next time you have opportunity. Contemplate the possible response of no, bringing your ‘no’ to the Lord, first and then see what follows after that. The same love that wooed us to the Lord, will we now give it permission to constrain us?
When might a ‘no’ be practiced in your life right now?