Just Say No
Warning: This post is very likely to step on some toes. But please know this — I never post anything here but that my own toes have not been stepped on first. It is my desire to grow every day to be more like the Lord Jesus and to help other Christian ladies to do the same. Sometimes what He teaches me is not going to be popular. But hey, it's not always exactly what I want to hear myself either. We don't always expect our children to like what they're told, but we still expect them to obey. And when God tells us something in His Word, He doesn't ask us to like it; He asks us to obey anyway. But you know what? Obedience brings joy and blessing. So even if we don't like what we hear today, let's obey anyway and expect the blessing that obedience brings!
Ready? Here we go…
What are you doing right now?
Well, yes, I know you're reading this blog post. But why are you on the computer/phone/tablet?
Are you spending your time intentionally today? Is this the time that you're supposed to be relaxing at the computer? Or are you just avoiding other stuff you'd rather not be doing?
What have you eaten today? The things your body needs or the things your taste buds want?
When did you get up this morning? Whenever you felt like it or when you should have? Actually, let's back that up. When did you go to bed last night? Early enough to get enough rest for the day ahead, or did you lollygag on Facebook or Pinterest instead of shutting it down and going to sleep?
I could go on and on with many areas in which you have to make the choice to say no to what you want.
But the truth is, God has told us that we are to practice temperance.
Temperance? Really? You're writing a blog post about an obscure little word in the Bible called temperance?
To some people it may not seem like a big deal, but to the Christian it is a big deal!
Over-indulging in that dessert is typically something we make into a joke. Call me extreme, but I don't think it's a joke to God when he has very specifically told us to practice moderation. (Notice: I didn't say enjoying a dessert is wrong. But enjoying dessert to excess is not practicing temperance and that's when it becomes wrong.)
The ability to say no to our desires when those things are not beneficial to us is part of being a Spirit-controlled Christian.
II Peter 1: 6-9:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Did you catch that? We are to be adding temperance to our faith. According to scripture, practicing temperance is not something to be done lackadaisically. We are supposed to be practicing it diligently! To God it's apparently a big deal if it's something at which we're told to work hard to put into practice.
The 1974 Merriam-Webster dictionary defines temperance as: habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.
Notice the word habitual. Temperance should be something we as Christians practice all the time; not just when we feel like it or when it's convenient.
Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord Jesus? Then you must practice temperance. Another word I could use is self-control.
When your child has committed an offense and you need to speak to him in a firm tone, do you cross the line and allow yourself to lash out in anger? Or do you control your desire to vent your frustration?
When that book is sooo good and you just can't put it down, do you give in to your desire to finish it or do you turn out the light and go to sleep so you can be refreshed in the morning?
But, here's the kicker. Self-control sounds like something we can do ourselves, but it is absolutely not. Controlling yourself can only be done when you are Spirit-controlled.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Temperance is a result of being filled with the Spirit.
So…you're saying if I waste time on the internet when I should be going to bed, I'm not being controlled by the Spirit?
You got it. You're being controlled by your own desires rather than by the Spirit of God.
Now, please let me be 100% clear.
It is not wrong to relax.
It is not wrong to enjoy dessert or soda or any other junk food.
It is not wrong to have fun.
It is not wrong to browse Facebook.
Relaxing, sleeping, eating are normal human desires. But when you enjoy them to the point of excess you are not practicing temperance and are not exhibiting the fruit of being filled with the Spirit.
So…in what area of your life do you need to start saying no to yourself through the power of the Spirit of God?
If you want to grow to be all that God wants you to be, you must not dismiss things as “not a big deal”.
God promises that when “these things” abound in you (see II Peter 1:6-9 above), you will not be unfruitful.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a great incentive to say no to my own desires!