I am NOT gonna do that!
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had been spending a bit of time reflecting on the past. Actually, it has been more on the past five years since I was born again, than on my distant past. And I’ve gotta tell you that during my walk down memory lane I’ve been chuckling an awful lot; at God.
Of course, I’m quite sure that God has been chuckling at me too, more often, and harder, than I’ve chuckled at Him!
NEVER: not ever : at no time : not in any degree : not under any condition
Never is a pretty strong word, isn’t it? It carries with it such a sense of finality. It leaves no “wiggle room.”
I’m fairly sure that as child, and certainly as a teenager, I threw the word around with a lot of conviction. I mean, there was just a lot of stuff that I was never gonna do! Never.
By the time that I’d dropped out of college, gotten married at twenty-one, and become a father for the second time at twenty-six, I had, with one exception, taken never out of my vocabulary.
I used to tell God and whoever else was listening that if I ever got out of my marriage, (it was definitely not one of those made in heaven) I’d never get married again! NEVER! I had learned my lesson, and I’d never tie the marital knot again. I’d just be promiscuous!
God had other plans. Within a year of my divorce from my first wife, I married Jackie, my wife and best friend of twenty-two years and counting. And believe or not, after all those years of saying never, I said “I do” with a smile on my face and no fear in my heart. I knew, even then, that God had put Jackie in my life for a reason.
NOT: used as a function word to make negative a group of words or a word
While not doesn’t quite carry the conviction and length of duration that never does, would you agree that it’s still a fairly powerful word? I’ll admit that “not” is still in my vocabulary, and that I use it quite frequently! I’ll also admit that my use of the word “not” (as in “I’m not gonna do that!”) during the past five years has been the primary contributor to God’s chuckling.
· “Okay God, I’ll keep talking to this young lady about You, cause she’s going through a divorce and really hurting, but I’m not gonna do this with anyone else.”
· “Alright, I’ll keep talking about You and my faith during these business presentations, but if I’m told to stop it or else, then I’m gonna have to leave You out. I’m not gonna let this opportunity slip through my fingers.”
· “Look, it’s gettin’ to the point where talking about You is more important to me than our salon, which is a business that I’ve always dreamed of owning. This obsession with spreading Your message has got to stop. I’m am not gonna give up on my dreams for our business to follow whatever plans You may have for me.”
· “Yes, I know that I’ve always been afraid of the Bible, for some reason or another. I’m gonna go out and buy my first Bible, but I’m not reading it every day!”
· “Yes, I’ve heard about that “die to self daily” thing, but I’m not gonna give up being me so that I can walk with You.”
· “Look, Jackie has been #1 in my life for the last twenty-one years. I not sure that I’m ready for You to take over the top spot.”
· “I am not gonna say Jesus’ name out loud in public, at least not loud enough to be heard!”
· “Okay, You’re obviously the center of my universe, but I’m not gonna tell Jackie.”
· “I know that I’ve dedicated my life to You, but I’m not giving control of it to You.”
· “Okay, I’ve launched The Seed of Hope. I’ll write when I can, if I can, and if I have something to write about, but I’m not gonna toss and turn at night if I miss a week.”
· “Alright, alright. I’m reading the Bible every day, but I ain’t memorizing it, ain’t writing about it, and I am not gonna share it with others!”
· “Okay, I’m gonna pray for this lady cause she asked me to, but I’m not gonna offer to pray for every person that walks into this room.”
I could add several more examples of things that I told God that I was not gonna do, but I don’t know that it’s necessary. You get the point, right? If you know me well enough, or if you’ve visited these pages often enough, you know that I’ve reneged on every one of the things I told God that I wouldn’t do.
Here’s the thing: God didn’t twist my arm to go back on my word on any of my declarations; not one. It wasn’t an attempt to bargain with God, promising to do the things that I do in exchange for His blessings. In fact, I expect nothing in return for serving Him, because He has already showered me with an abundance of love, happiness, prosperity, good health, joy, hope, peace, strength, and all the other good things that come from Him.
I began to lose all the “nots” when I truly opened my heart to God. As the old “junk” that had been on my heart for years slipped away, so did the list of things that I was not gonna do. Like a chain reaction, they just fell one by one.
In his heart a man plots his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Now, with a smile on my face, I begin each day with a list of things that I will do.
Lord I thank you for this day and I offer it to You. I will make this day count. I will, not just walk, but run through every door that You open for me. I will take advantage of every opportunity that You give me to reach others. I will offer praise and glory to You, not only for the good days, but for the strength that You give me to get through the bad ones. I will…