Jesus said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (Matthew 5:37) One couldn’t overemphasize the importance of those two little words. They control the speed of your life, the depth of your relationships and the condition of your soul.
Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted too. Each of us has just 1440 minutes each day, no more, no less. How are you spending yours? Does it seem to you that you are focusing on what matters most in life? Let’s examine ourselves right now. Put aside your keyboard, take a deep breath and breathe it out. Now consider these questions:
Do I want to maintain my current pace?
Is the rate at which I do good things undoing the good God wants to do in me?
What is the current condition of my heart?
Am I losing my depth with people and God? Am I a drive-by parent? A run-through spouse? A text-message friend? A Christmas-and-Easter Christian?
What matters most to you right now? Make a list. Keep it in a place you will see it daily.
What drives busy-ness in our lives? Generally it is the inability to say the word “No”. We are driven in school or work or the gym by the lust for higher numbers. We are driven by the mistaken notion that it’s our task in life to please everyone—so we always say “Yes” not realizing that when you say “yes” to one thing, you are also saying “no” to another—like your spouse. We are driven by the desire to prove ourselves capable of doing everything—which is not unlike believing yourself to be God! We are driven by the experience of heartbreak, saying to ourselves, “If I could do just a little bit more…” We are driven by the guilt that we are not good enough yet, so we say “Yes” to more and “No” to our soul, our marriage, our health, our children or our growth.
Author and pastor Doug Fields remarks, “I had to learn that by making everything important, nothing was important.” That is a watershed moment—have you come to it yet? Fields is the author of a book called “No! Banish Busyness and Focus on What Matters Most” I am the only one who controls the speed of my life. I have my foot on the accelerator. It’s my foot, not God’s and not anybody else’s. God cannot slow me down. My family can’t slow me down. Only I can do it. I can do it by creatively and courageously using the word, “No.”
The great evangelist Charles Spurgeon used to tell preachers, “Learn to say no, it will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.” I don’t need to explain or justify saying “No.” People who resent me saying “No” to them don’t really have my best interests in their heart. No is actually a very kind word. It sets us free to focus on what matters most. Most of the things I do in the world can be done by other people. But I am the only one who can be a disciple of Jesus, a husband to my wife, a father to my children, or a son to my parents. “No” is the word that enables me to do the important things that only I—and no one else—can do. “No” means I can take the time to say “Yes” to what matters most.