Sunday morning, the conversation with my toddler went something like this:
Me: Time to get out of the shower, Olivia. We have to go to church.
Olivia: No church!
Me: No church? No God, too!?
Olivia: No God!
Clearly she doesn’t understand the implications and depth of what she was saying. She’s two! But as I listened to her declaration of independence and preference, I couldn’t help but see myself and how I am toward God at times.
Sadly, I too have silently uttered those very words in my heart. There are moments I’d rather not be interrupted from my choice of indulgence, in order to comply with God’s request for my time and attention.
But saying no to God has two major impacts:
1. Before we accept Christ, it means we’re lost and disconnected in this life. Worse still, we’re destined for eternal separation for Him upon death. (Matthew 25:46)
2. After we accept Christ, it means we are living carnally and not in full submission to Him. We lack the fullness of joy that comes only from living at peace with God. (Romans 8: 6-8)
The Bible says in Hebrews 3:15, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
As a first-time mom, I am in awe of my daughter’s development. Watching little humans grow physically, mentally and emotionally is quite fascinating. What amazes me most is her natural inclination to first say no, then possibly she’ll decide to say yes.
Catch her at the wrong time, “Would you like your bottle (sippy cup)?” You receive an emphatic, “No, boggle!” (misspelled on purpose) – complete with the folded arms across her little chest and the pouting, poked lip. Only two minutes later to be followed up by the softly spoken, “Mommy, boggle?” and the sign language for milk.
Goodness, child! Make up your mind!?
But then again, isn’t that what I do when the Lord petitions me. I say no first because I’m too angry… busy… tired… afraid… sad… (fill in the blank)… to be bothered right now. Is there ever an appropriate time to say no to the Almighty God?! As if the giver of life and the grantor of eternal salvation is not important enough for my undivided attention whenever or wherever He sees fit.
Only through self-discipline and reliance on the Holy Spirit, do you ever manage to bring yourself to the place of submission and yielding to God’s will and ways. It’s work… supernatural work. But at some point you must make a decision to lay aside anything that disrupts your relationship with Him.
So in closing I ask, do you recall the last time you ignored the call of God to indulge in momentary desire of the heart? How did that work for you?
Diera Shaw-Mendez is a minister and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ, and works full-time for an educational nonprofit in Philadelphia. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy. She spends her “spare time” running an online invitation design shop on Etsy and write occasionally for her personal blog, With Style, By Grace. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to inspire women to invest in THE beauty that never fades!