Saying no can be difficult sometimes. Things we desire can look so good, and the good feeling we get from saying yes to it is wonderful in the moment. But that’s the important thing to remember; it is but a momentary pleasure. What follows is heartache and separation from God. There are things that come up in our hearts, minds, and paths which can completely derail us if given even a thought.
I had to say no to something recently and it was harder than I thought. Everything about it looked good on the outside, but as I analyzed it and held it up against the Word of God, it became less and less enticing. However, I entertained the idea because I figured it can’t be that bad. It seems legit, even though I saw a few things that didn’t seem right. I thought, maybe I’m just being overcareful. Maybe those things aren’t a big deal. I prayed about it and the Lord told me to ask one question, which I didn’t at first. I knew almost certainly what the answer would be, regardless of what I saw and heard, which is why I ignored it.
As time went on, I felt more and more that this was not something the Lord ordained. My excuses and allowances for the things I knew He didn’t approve of were a pattern of the past I was beginning to entertain. I didn’t sleep well at night, knowing I was considering what would inevitably be a bad situation just because it would fill something that was slightly aching in me. I knew it would be temporary and that eventually I’d be in over my head, so I asked the Lord to give me a way out of the temptation that I’d be able to stand up under it.
He had already provided the way out, the answer, the word I was looking for, but repeated it to me. This morning, I decided to be obedient. I asked the question and received the answer I knew God wanted me to hear. It was an answer that I would not be able to ignore or excuse. It was literally a question of life or death. The answer was death. I had to refuse the opportunity. The entirety of what this opportunity was presenting itself as completely unraveled at the answer to the question. And taking the opportunity would have been a slow snowball rolling down the hill of my high-grounded morals.
We can never think that we are above temptation or that we can fight it without the Lord. We are lured away by our own desires and enticed, and we don’t always know when it will show up. We have to be prepared through study of the Word, prayer, quiet time before the Lord, and a building up of courage to say no without hesitation to what is not ordained by God. The more we resist the devil, temptation, and our flesh, and the more we submit to God and look to Him for leading, the more safe we’ll be and the more the devil will flee from us.
Prayer: Oh God, help me to listen more carefully to Your voice. Teach me to say no to temptation in whatever form it comes right away, to recognize it right away, and to submit to you immediately and joyfully. I know You hold my desires, my future, and the areas of my life I still need to lay down. Guide me every step of the way. I want Your will for my life no matter what it will cost me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.