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When God Says, “NO”

And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:18-19, NKJV)

I have come to learn that GOD would deny your request when you’re asking on a level that limits His plans for your life. 'NO' means there’s a 'YES' to something else that speaks to the authenticity of GOD's word concerning your life. 'NO' is not a negative word, it’s a navigational word. Often times, we are heading towards a path that’s less than the beauty of God’s will. And as a result of our submission to His leading, His NO may come in the form of being rejected in the place He didn’t send you, it may come in the form of loss of a job that’s making you unavailable to the MORE He has for you. 'NO' would never be punishment or loss, rather its favor and gain.

Prior to the passage, God told Abraham; whom at the time had no children, that he would indeed have a child that’ll establish God’s covenant to Abraham and his descendants. As time passed, and Abraham’s wife; Sarah had yet to conceive a child, she took it upon herself to initiate a different plan for God’s word to be fulfilled- instructing Abraham to sleep with her servant, Hagar. This resulted in the birthing of Ishmael. Then thirteen years after Ishmael’s birth, God revisits Abraham with the same word, with specific details of His plan; that He will give Abraham a son by his wife, Sarah (Genesis 17:16). However, in the passage, Abraham requests for God to establish His covenant through Ishmael, due to not comprehending Sarah's capability to conceive a child. Sarah had experienced menopause (Genesis 18:11) and biologically it is impossible for her to become pregnant, being that she had no eggs to be fertilized by a sperm. Nevertheless, we cannot forget the fact that this is a word from God; the creator of man, whose power cannot be hindered, not even by the limitations of our knowledge of the human body.

God’s 'NO' would always be for the right 'YES'. The enemy would try to manipulate the situation for you to walk in doubt and shame. I encourage you to stand tall with your head high, you’re being set up for greater! 

The Fruit Reveals the Seed

The average individual can rarely identify the nature of a fruit tree by looking at its leaves. When the tree produces fruit, the fruit reveals the nature of the planted seed. The planting of an apple seed for instance, can only produce an apple tree.

In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke about ‘The Parable of the Sower,” in which He spoke about a certain sower who went out to sow. He described the different places some of the seeds fell. Amongst all the seeds that fell, only the seeds that fell on good ground were able to produce fruit. When Jesus explained the meaning of the parable, He likened the seed to the word of God. The places where the seed fell represented the heart posture of the receiver. The receiver that was known to be good ground and produce fruit was the one that heard and understood the word.

Understanding of the word can be the recognition that the promises of God is not void of His process. The process is purposed to build you, often through trails. In understanding the word, you come in agreement with His promise despite the trails that come with it. It speaks of a heart that believes and trusts in the faithfulness of God to bring them to the place of manifestation. Their trust in God is their strength to not give up. The fruit of His planted word (seed) is revealed through their ability to keep moving forward despite everything about their circumstances that contradict their belief. 

What does your fruits reveal?

Your actions reveal your truth! Are your actions the evidence of your belief in God’s promises to you, or do they reveal that His seed never took root? Remember, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Our belief should be backed up by our actions, and our actions should flow from our belief. 

It is my prayer that through this word, we would examine the fruits in our lives. What do they reveal? Agreement with God’s word or with the enemy? Does your actions reveal that you have given up on something you may verbally say you believe God for? If there’s a promise of God you’ve given up on, knowingly or unknowingly, take some time to reflect on His faithfulness over your life. Reflect on the things you’ve been through that at the time you didn’t understand and you thought it would destroy you. Yet God caused it to favor you. The remembrance of His faithfulness will strengthen your belief. Go after it again, keeping your eyes on Jesus! 

"Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonders which He has done." (Psalm 105:4-5) 

Managing Disappointments

When we think about the word, “dis-appointment;” ‘dis’ denotes the reversal of an action, ‘appointment’ can be defined as ‘an act of appointing; assigning a job or position to someone.’ Such positions reveal a responsibility that there’s an expectation to fulfill. So disappointment stems from failed/unfulfilled expectations from self/others. In regards to our relationships (romantic, business, friendships, etc.) how do you qualify their roles in your life? How invested are you in building those relationships? Have people failed your expectation because you gave them access to your life through a role they were never designed to occupy? Or you viewed them through the lens of past hurts, thereby concluding the intention behind their actions according to your judgments?

When disappointments are left unchecked, it hinders the growth of present relationships and the embrace of new ones. It places a roadblock in your relationships, that are purposed to be your greatest resource. Whenever God is doing something new in your life He does it through people. There’s a well known scripture in the Bible that’s often quoted (Luke 6:38, KJV) but there’s a particular line that’s rarely highlighted;

 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, SHALL MEN GIVE INTO YOUR BOSOM.”

 Did you catch that? The blessing is brought forth through people! So its vital we learn how to manage disappointments, through that we are able to move from a place of love, and not the anxiety/fear of being let down.

Fruitful relationships aren’t perfect, it’s the outcome when people can see past flaws and connect with truth. In managing disappointments, there’re three things that I've learnt to be helpful (and there could be a lot more).

1.    Prayer

The Lord Jesus had many disciples that followed Him, but when it came to appoint Apostles; those being entrusted with the authority and responsibility of planting and building of the Church. He didn’t do it randomly, according to Luke 6:12-13

“He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples and chose from them twelve, whom He named Apostles.”

Jesus appointed those that would become Apostles from a place of prayer, a place in seeking revelation about the identity of those that followed Him. This is the example of how we ought to appoint people in our lives. If someone is presenting a business idea to you or looking to date you, their chase does not qualify you giving them that position in your life. Many disciples followed Jesus, only twelve were appointed to be Apostles.

In prayer we receive a divine insight which could be communicated through different ways (that’s another blogpost), and upon that revelation the relationship is established. Its not established on feelings that could change but the word of God that revealed the identity and positions of the people in your life, its on that word that you are empowered to overcome any challenges that would’ve easily caused dissension if the relationship was driven by emotions.

2.    Patience

According to Galatians 5:22, Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the fruits produced in the life of a believer that submits to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Patience necessitates faith. Faith empowers us to live according to the wisdom of God; an understanding that is not shortsighted according to what we see but farsighted according to what He knows about the outcome. This must first start with self, we often become impatient with people because we are also impatient with ourselves. If something doesn’t happen in the timeline we hoped, we easily give up. However, that is moving by sight and not faith.

In Luke 22:34, Jesus told Peter, His disciple (amongst those chosen to be an Apostle) that three times Peter would deny Him. Nevertheless, this didn’t disqualify Peter as an Apostle, Jesus was patient with Him because He knew His true identify. So prior to the passage He said to Peter in Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” When we have a revelation of people from a place of prayer, and we come in agreement with God concerning what He has shown us, the very things that would naturally make us impatient with people would be the things we pray for concerning them.

3.    Perspective

Sometimes relationships fall apart because an individual held on to their perspective about an incident. According to their judgment of what happened, that person shouldn’t be in their life. However, perspective is your interpretation of an event. So to hold on and justify your perspective as truth is a selfish way to build a relationship.

True relationships are built on sacrifice. Love is sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In other words, “For God so LOVED the world, that He SACRFICED…”

We ought to always be willing to broaden our perspective; to be open minded to the other person’s interpretation of what happened. It doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with the act but you’ll have an understanding about their intention. Often times this understanding might not even come from the person, the Holy Spirit could reveal to you their WHY. The key is to be willing to broaden your perspective, which goes hand in hand with patience.