I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Rev.1:9
John got in trouble and suffered because he spoke of the word of God and his testimony of Jesus. He said “no” to a law or someone’s command that he shut his mouth about Jesus. But the love of Christ compelled him. This is similar to what happened to Jesus; the Pharisees tried to silence Him, but He kept on preaching and living the Kingdom of God. And this resulted in His suffering. His living the Kingdom and His suffering death were and are now both borne of love. Early believers in Rome chose to say “no” when the Empire demanded that they make a confession that ‘Caesar is lord’. They in love said “no” to the authorities and instead confessed, “Jesus is Lord.”
Have you ever had to say “no” to something because of your love for Christ? As we walk in our bodies through this world, the Kingdom of God is within us. Conflict is inevitable. Our response to this conflict of kingdoms, is due to our love for Christ, and His love for us. Our mutual covenant of love, necessitates having to make difficult choices. The kingdoms of the world want us to make one choice, but the Kingdom of God within us leads us to a different choice. The reason for saying “no” to what the world wants us to do, is always because of love. Our “no” is not a result of us being unloving; on the contrary, it is a result of a great love in the Kingdom of God, our union and communion with Christ. Our “no” is thus a great witness to the world.
People and things I have said “no” to (short list):
- A teenage boyfriend who challenged me to choose between him and Christ.
- College professors who required the reading and acceptance of occult books to graduate.
- A Church that had patriotic nationalist songs as part of the song worship service.
- A Church that practiced pragmatism, CGM, TQM, lying, and “New Age lite”.
- Saying the Pledge of Allegiance (to the USA Gov.) at Christian school events.
- A preacher teaching us that we should reverence and honor a political nation.
- Ministry leaders and pastors that taught fear of “the heathens” and “war against enemies is necessary”, at a Christian conference.
This is just a sample of some times I chose to say “no”. I said no to these things because His life in me compelled me. Choices to say no are personal matters of obedience to Christ, a matter between you and God, as they are done because of His personal, individual leading in our lives by His Life, as He is our life (Col.3:4). Kingdoms are in conflict and sometimes saying no to certain activities or people’s demands is living the Kingdom love of Christ, as well as a witness to the world. Saying “no” to something in favor of the Kingdom of Jesus sometimes brings backlash and suffering from “the world”, but it always brings righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17). When and why did you choose to say “no” to something out of love for Christ and His Kingdom?