Why We Should Learn to Say No

Learning to Say No - Grace Fox

If we’re too busy to acknowledge God’s presence, then we’re too busy. Let’s be alert to the devil’s efforts to derail us using busyness as his weapon of choice.

The devil will do anything to derail our devotion for the Lord. One of his tactics is busyness. If running from one thing to the next eliminates quiet time spent in God’s Word and presence, then we become more vulnerable to temptation, discouragement, and self-deception.

Satan knows this, so he wastes no energy trying to get us to buy into busyness as a way of life and proof of our importance. Some personalities are more prone to this than others. Can you see my raised hand? I’ve learned a few things the hard way after spending nearly thirty years in career ministry.

I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions before saying yes to others’ requests for my commitment to their cause:

  • Saying yes to this request means saying no to something else. To what am I saying no?
  • Am I afraid of missing out on an opportunity that might not come again?
  • Do I think I’m the only one capable of doing this assignment?
  • Am I afraid to disappoint others by saying no?
  • Am I trying to impress others with my abilities?

Using this grid helps me evaluate my motives.

But the most important question of all is this: Is God asking me to do this?

If so, then the only appropriate answer is yes. If not, then the answer is no, and I’m learning to say it without feeling guilty.

Even Jesus said no at times.

The morning after He healed Simon’s mother-in-law and many sick and demon-possessed people in her town, He rose early to pray alone. The disciples found him and said, “Everyone is looking for You.”

A weaker personality might have responded, “Okay—let’s go and see what they need.”

But not Jesus.

“Jesus replied, ‘We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.’” (Mark 1:35-38 NLT)

Jesus didn’t say no for lack of love toward those who wanted to see Him. He embodied compassion, after all. (Mark 1:41) He said no because He knew His God-given purpose. He understood God’s plan to redeem mankind and His place in that plan.

Other than being One with God, what gave Him such certainty?

Scroll back to Mark 1:35, ” Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”

Jesus spent His days serving, teaching, and walking from region to region to serve and teach more. He was a busy man but He made time with His Father a priority. The depth of that relationship gave Him the wisdom He needed to know His purpose and to stay on task.

God wants us to steward time and talents wisely.

Even more, He wants us to flourish in relationship with Him. To spend time in His presence. To  quiet ourselves so we can hear His voice. To make friendship with Him a greater priority than service for Him.

The practical outworking of such a relationship changes from person to person and season to season, but one truth remains constant: If we’re too busy to acknowledge God’s presence, then we’re too busy. Let’s be alert to the devil’s efforts to derail us using busyness as his weapon of choice.


Do you find it difficult to say no? If so, reread my grid questions. Which one resonates with you most?

Know you are loved,


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