There’s Power in Saying “No”! Part Three
“Resist the Devil, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering.” 1 Peter 5:9
It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae of life and lose focus on what is truly important. We can become overwhelmed with the many demands on our time and energy, and before we know it, we’ve let our lives spin out of control. Instead, we must learn to build healthy boundaries and focus on what matters most. It’s also important to remember that balance is key.
In Matthew 22, when the Pharisees came to Jesus with a question about paying taxes to Caesar, Jesus responded by asking them to show him a coin. They produce a denarius, which features the portrait of Caesar. Jesus then says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This encounter has been used over the centuries to justify the separation of church and state. But there’s more to it than that. Jesus didn’t tell the Pharisees to stop paying taxes. Instead, he told them to give to God what was rightfully God’s. In other words, don’t mix things up. Keep your priorities straight.
Isaiah 30:22 says, “So you will desecrate your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, saying to them, “Be gone!”
One way to regain control is to simplify our lives. We need to learn to say no to the things that are Caesar’s and yes to the spiritually minded things’. That doesn’t mean we have to live a life of asceticism, but it does mean that we need to be intentional about how we spend our time and energy. I understand; this is easier said than done, of course. We’re constantly being pulled in different directions. There are bills to pay, deadlines to meet, and people who rely on us. But we’ll quickly be overextended and overwhelmed unless we learn to say no. We’ll become so busy with the things of this world that we’ll have no time for God.
That’s why it’s important to take a step back and ask ourselves some tough questions. What are our priorities? What are the things that are important to us? And once we figure that out, we need to be willing to say no to the things that aren’t. We need to be willing to put our God-given priorities first. Remember, Jesus didn’t tell the Pharisees to stop paying taxes; instead, he reinforced his priority with style by saying, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” In other words, I am a child of God, not a tax collector that works for Caesar. You too can do the same. Ephesians 5:10 says, “Test and prove what pleases the Lord.”
LORD, let every evil weapon of my enemy formed and fired against the stability and expansion of my ministries and business return to sender now by fire and thunder in Jesus’ name. Amen.