A Door Marked “No”

by DanWolgemuth on March 25, 2011

Picture this… a rental car counter, paperwork complete, signatures provided and now instructions on how to get to the parking lot.  With arm outstretched the employee informed me that I would first have to go through “that door” on the other side of baggage claim and then I would see a red door that would open up to the cars that were available to me.

First one door… then another.

Biblical discipleship is often a “two door” process. In my own personal journey I have come to realize that the primary doorway to “Yes” is sequenced after the door marked “No.” My ability and capacity to fully embrace the grace, mercy and goodness of God is subsequent to my resolve to say no to selfishness, arrogance, and fear.

And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
~ Luke 9:23-25 (ESV)

Can you picture those two doors? Is it possible that what constrains us from full surrender to the plans of God is our inability to relinquish our own plans?

Self-denial is messy. It’s unpopular. Even old-fashioned.

We live in a win/win world, and frankly, the notion that saying “no” to ourselves seems restrictive, legalistic, confining… and so we wander around baggage claim, wondering why we can’t get to the joy and peace we really want. We want the “Yes” door, but without the “No” door first.

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” ~ Mark 10:17

An encounter with a prominent and wealthy individual is recorded in scripture. In short, this is a man that wanted to get to the “Yes” door. “What do I have to do?” “How do I get to the peace, purpose and joy that I so desperately want?”

“And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” ~ Mark 10:21

The “No” door. Ouch.

“Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” ~ Mark 10:22

It was too much. “No” was too costly for “Yes.”

And the principle still applies; the lesson stills works; the test is still valid… will I say “No” to get to “Yes”? Will I deny myself?

Through the door across the baggage claim area… first things first.

Is there a door marked “No” that you need to go through?

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