Say No.

The guilt of needing to do more to advance in your spiritual growth is often the deceptive, nagging whisper of the enemy. His condemnation echoes obligations of “You should read your Bible more” or “You should pray more.” These urges directly undermine the purpose of these spiritual disciplines. The reading of scriptures and prayer are the pathways by which the Holy Spirit reveals His greatness to us. Entering these sacred moments with thoughts of obligation or self-condemnation can only lead to a misperception of God’s nature and truth. The apostle Paul warns his disciple Timothy that the failure to see himself as one who is “approved before God” is the key to “rightly dividing (understanding) the word of truth.”

Contrary to the compulsion to do more, you may find your love for Jesus strengthened by doing less. What do I mean by this? As a disciple of Jesus, you and I have the indwelling of God’s Spirit in us. He fosters a natural desire in us to be with God. There is a default setting to learn and experience more of Jesus, which we cannot deny. The blinders that blur our experiences with Him are the nagging thoughts to do more, have more, or be more. Healthy growth can happen many times when we simply employ the power of saying, “No.” Saying no to another event, another obligation, another costly entertainment purchase can free your heart to pursue the One you love. Less entertainment, less work, less study, and more enjoying Jesus in the still morning moments or evening walks can add significant strength to your love for Him.

The German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher hinted at this principle centuries ago. He writes, “Man is born with a religious capacity… If only his sense of the profoundest depths of his own nature is not crushed out, if only all fellowship between himself and the Primal Source is not quite shut off, religion would, after its own fashion, infallibly be developed.”

To put it simply, we were created to crave the supernatural realm of God, our Father. The enemy’s work is to exhaust or crush your desire for eternal life by consuming you with the difficulties and excesses of this life. Saying “no” to the thieves of our time and attention can halt the feelings of being rushed through the week. Every time you say no to un-needed commitments, you are saying yes to the greater commitment of being with Jesus.

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