Monday, July 4, 2016
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Oh, grandkids! They just keep lighting up your life, right? When our oldest was just past the one-year mark, it was exciting to see him investigating all the things around him and learning the words of what things are called – Daddy, car, moon, dog, ball. And he even learned one of the hardest words of all. It's not hard to pronounce – just to accept. You know that simple little word – "no". Now, I didn't say he liked the word. I said he was learning the word. In fact, I'm not sure any of us really loves the word.
I remember he would just repeat it after one of us, and then we would say "no" to something he was reaching for; usually something we thought would hurt him, and he would shake his head, pull back his hand, and go, "Na, na, na!" Well, that's close to what he said anyway. Well, then there was a new development. He would imitate the word "no". That's what that was all about. He was reaching for something that was on the forbidden list. He would suddenly stop and he himself would start shaking his head and saying to himself, ''Na, na, na."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Learning The Hardest Word In The World."
"No" is not just a hard word for children to learn. It's hard for us grown-up children! And learning to say no to the things God hates is basic to being a follower of Jesus Christ.
Listen to Jesus' own words in our word for today from the Word of God from Luke 9:23. -"If anyone would come after Me (and I'm just going to assume you want to do that; you want to follow Jesus), he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Okay, what's that first step? Deny yourself? Deny – well that means "say no". Jesus says you can't really follow Him unless you learn to deny yourself; to say no to yourself, because you're reaching for something you'd like to do or say and Jesus knows it's going to hurt you or someone else, something that He has maybe called "out of bounds" for you because He knows that it is sin and it will hurt your relationship with God, with other people. It is wrong. He says, "No". Now, the question is, will you stop yourself, in spite of your desires, shake your head, and say, "No, I can't do this. I'm trying to be like Jesus. I can't do this."
Obedience is stopping where God says to stop no matter how tempting it looks, no matter how desirable, no matter how much advantage it may look to us to have. And like a parent's no to a toddler, God's no is based on keeping you from getting hurt, from injury, from scars. So, Jesus' question to you today might be this, "What have you been saying "yes" to lately that you know I have said "no" to?"
Is it that poison on the Internet, in those magazines, on TV, or those videos you rent? Is it that trash talk that keeps wounding somebody you love? Maybe you've been saying yes to compromising the truth, compromises in your integrity, or the purity of your body, which is not really yours. It's the temple of the Holy Spirit. Or is it those lustful looks you just continue to let pollute your heart, those angry outbursts maybe, or just your selfish insistence that you've got to have your way?
Until you make up your mind that you're going to stop it, until you say a firm "no" at your first opportunity to do the wrong thing, you're going to be crippled in your relationship with Jesus. You'll miss so much of His power, so much of the spiritual freedom that goes with saying "no" to the things that He says are out-of-bounds.
It's the hardest word to say, but it is fundamental to following Jesus and enjoying the ride. What He says "no" to, I say "no" to.