These three words are a powerful tool for any parent. If you have kids, then you know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s easier than saying ‘No’ to their request, but it almost certainly means No. Why? Because my kids tend to be fickle and out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Kind of like me. If I can delay, the request loses its power and they move on.
Not Right Now…
I’ve recently discovered that these three words work in my struggle with temptation, with cravings, and with unhealthy appetites of any kind. It really is the easiest way to say, No. For me, saying No is difficult. I’ve waged a war against the devil in my head and resisted about all that I can while I’m being told that I’ll never be able to stand. At the same time, I’m telling myself to be strong but I also hear the voice that asks how long I can last. I hear the whisper that it’s a losing battle.
So the next time you’re tempted, instead of saying No and arguing until you’re worn down into surrender, just say “Not right now!” Just put the craving off until later. When I do, I’m not assuming that I will sin later, I’m assuming that I’ll have more grace and greater strength then to say it again and again. I’m hopeful that my ‘passive-aggressive resistance’ be enough that he’ll move on – and it usually works! The truth is, I don’t have enough sovereignty to be sure that my No really means no any other time than now… All I can do is say No for now. Don’t let the devil use tomorrow against you any more (Matthew 6:34). So just put it off now – and then keep putting it off again and again… forever! Delay the gratification and just keep delaying it. Many times, it’s easier than trying to draw a definitive line in the sand in the face of your worst enemy with a grip on your Achilles’ heel. Maybe later you’ll be stronger, maybe later you will have help, maybe later… just not right now!
We all struggle with sins and temptations to steal, to lust, to gossip, to lie. We hide secret, unhealthy appetites of drugs, porn, and approval. One of the greatest days in my life is when my addiction was found out! I welcome your feedback and I’d love to walk with you through your struggles. Email me [below] and let’s talk.
NOTE: Although this strategy for winning your battle isn’t expressly theological, I believe that it is based in the Bible – and quite practical. I find its truth embedded into James 4:7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” as well as in 1 Corinthians 10:13 as the “way of escape.”