Summary: Paul teaches us that “experiences” may come into our life so God can smooth off the rough edges off of our character. The Lord is in the process of fashioning us more into the image of Jesus Christ. He is the potter and we are the clay.
1. Have you considered all the blessings that are available to you when you hear the word, “No”. Most of us like to get what we want, but are frustrated when we hear somebody say, “No” to our requests. Instead of growing resentful, angry or disillusioned when you come up against denials of your requests try to understand what God is trying to teach you.
Paul gives us a clue in how to find benefits when we experience disagreeable experiences. He wrote, “Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance and fortitude develops maturity of character.” (vs 3,4)
The apostle is showing us how to get blessed fruit off of the bitter trees of life. This advice is coming from a man who said,
“As sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, in good reports and bad reports, as having nothing, yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor. 6)
When we run into refusals we can realize that God may be asking us to change our attitude, alter our behavior or realign our thinking more with His sovereign purposes, plans or processes.
Application: The Lord is far more interested in helping us become mature in Christ than giving us what we want. Trust the Lord to teach you how to discover more of the blessings of “No experiences”.
2. Paul teaches us how to exult and triumph even in our troubles. We can learn how to appropriate the blessings of “No experiences” when we see things more from God’s perspective than our own. Our heavenly Father knows what it best. He never allows anything to come into our life that we are unable to handle.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you count it all joy when you encounter various trials. God is working all things together for your good in ways you may not understand or appreciate at the time.
3. Paul teaches us that “No experiences” may come into our life so God can smooth off the rough edges off of our character. The Lord is in the process of fashioning us more into the image of Jesus Christ. He is the potter and we are the clay.
Application: Allow Him to mold you and make you after His will while you are waiting, yielded and still. Let Him have his own way with you and your family.
4. Paul teaches us that “No experiences” may come into our life to expose areas of weakness, deficiency or sins of faulty attitudes. Many times the Lord slams the door in our face because we may not be willing to deal with certain deficiencies in our attitude.
Maybe there is someone here who is running away from what God wants them to do like Jonah. God said “No” to Jonah because He wanted His word preached to the people of Nineveh. God may say No to you because He has prepared you to do something you may have been refusing to do for a while.
Nobody enjoys having their shortcomings pointed out, but God uses criticism to force us to focus on areas where we fall short of the glory of God. The Lord cannot use the proud and self-sufficient, in fact He opposes them. (I Pet. 5:5,6)
Application: He gives grace to the humble, contrite of heart and teachable. Ask the Lord to remind you that “No experiences” may be what is necessary to point out areas of hidden sins that may be hindering you from growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
5. Paul teaches us that “No experiences” do not have to be internalized as long as we are willing to turn everything over to the Lord’s control. Many people take No as a rejection of them as a person and become depressed thinking that nobody really cares about them.
Make a choice to turn the controls of your thinking, attitudes, emotions and behavior over to God. Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you. The only other option to growing better through life’s experiences is to become bitter and resentful.
6. Consider one man’s prayer when the Lord taught him the blessings of “No” through the life of his severely handicapped daughter:
I asked God to take away my pride. God said, “No”. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, “No”. Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience. God said, “No”. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness. God said “No”. I give you blessings, happiness is up to you.