I won’t beat around the bush: it’s No.
It’s not a negative thing. And it’s not a word I’m going to toss around lightly. But I am going to use it. And I’m going to mean it when I do.
I’ve avoided saying No in the past, mostly because the language is so unyielding. If used properly, this word indicates a stance that is immovable — and I’m not sure I’m ready to be seen as that rigid. In the Greek, it literally translates to:
A word that objectively negates a statement; “ruling it out as fact”.
The word No is inflexible. Self-righteous, maybe? I thought if I used it, it would make me sound like a know-it-all — that I couldn’t see anyone else’s point of view. A person like that is stuck in their own world – the one where they’re always right. It just sounds, well… rigid, doesn’t it? At least, that’s what I’d thought. That wasn’t a word used in the corporate world I lived in for a decade and a half. Not unless it was followed up by an “unless…” or a “but if we consider this, then maybe…” We just didn’t make No a part of our vocabulary. We were used to questioning. We wouldn’t be so rigid as to ignore a different avenue to make something work.
In short, we wouldn’t take No as an answer.
See what I mean? We’re always trying to flip that No into a Yes to make it sound a little softer. To make us seem a little more open to possibilities. To give the perception that we’re not exactly what that word means.
But take a look in the New Testament. Jesus wasn’t afraid to say No:
But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. — Matt. 5:37 (NKJV)
How often have I said No, and really meant it? When I say No to social media (in favor of spending time being present with my family), how long before the iPhone is back in my hand?
When I say No to a packed schedule (in favor of lessening the stress I add to my life), how am I spending that won time?
When I say No to the old temptations that have caused pain in my past (in favor of overcoming the baggage), how long before I fall back into old habits?
When I say No to my will (in favor of daily submission to His will in my life), how quickly do I fall apart when things don’t go according to my plans?
If I’m addicted to people -or- self-pleasing, then I’ll always say Yes. I’ll make small concessions. I’ll allow little glimpses of darkness to penetrate the light in my heart. I’ll begin the slow fade, errant steps, and turned-face-living that’s not locked on Him.
It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?
So this year, I want to be unapologetic about saying No. I want to cross my arms. Put the wall at my back. Stand firm and fight my corner. Why? Because No needs to have a solid, foundational, immovable, RIGID stance in our walk with Jesus. We should be able to say, without reservation, and in 100% belief:
There is NO other thing in my life I place higher than God. — (Exodus 20:3-5)
There is NO condemnation for me if I’m in Christ Jesus. — (Romans 8:1)
There is NO moment when He’s not with me. — (Isaiah 41:10)
There is NO work I can do to make up for my sin. — (Ephesians 2:8)
There is NO reason I won’t be equipped to do what He’s called me to do. — (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
There is NO life outside of Him. — (John 14:6)
Feeling differently about that word? Me too. There are so many No moments I get to live because of the single No moment He had on the cross. He made a way for no more crying. No more death. No more fear and no separation from Him. All of that — ALL OF IT — is immovable. Rigid. It rules anything else out of being fact. And that… Yes! That’s something BIG to stand on in the new year.
So be unapologetic when you say No.
Say it. Mean it. Live it!
In His Love,