Millions of people take multi-millions of vitamin supplements every day. They are religious in taking them in pill or liquid form for they are convinced that whatever vitamins they take help keep them healthy and free of many diseases or aches or pains. There are dozens of vitamins; in fact, there is one component listed for every letter in the alphabet. You can buy Vitamin A, B, C, D, and on and on.
What is a vitamin anyway? It’s an organic compound that is needed for nourishment and growth and development in all of us. Most of the time, they are found in small measures in our body, but at times it seems as though we need more than we are getting in just our food supply. People take additional pills of vitamins in order to make sure to get all that they need to stay healthy.
What is this Vitamin N? There are several different compounds of vitamin possibilities that would be called N. For purposes of speaking to your and my needs spiritually, it simply stands for “No.” The vitamin we need in our lives to encourage and strengthen us to say no, to make decisions about no. Not just to be negative in life, but to be negative about the things that we ought to be negative toward and have plenty of Vitamin N available to us so that we can strongly say no.
What is it that we should say no about? Let me just give you three things to consider in your own health concerns about your need for Vitamin No.
One is to say no to evil. All of us should be aware of the fact that we need to stay in proper position and be nourished and strengthened to say no to evil around us, and it is everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you look or listen. It doesn’t matter what you are involved in, potentially, you are going to run into an opportunity to say no, not going there.
I know to mention Job in the Old Testament is to bring forth in most of our minds the word patience, but a greater word may be that Job lived with Vitamin N. He said no. It was a priority with him and a priority that was before God when He looked on Job. In the opening chapter of Job, it tells the story of Satan coming before God and pointing out to God what he says he does. He lies and deceives. He tells God that nobody down there cares anything about you. Nobody serves you, and God asks Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?”
This is the way God approached it. In Job 1:8, it says, “Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” The King James translates shuns evil as eschews evil. No, I know we don’t use the word eschews very much, but the fact is that shuns and eschews mean that Job said no to evil. So the great book of Job unfolds before us in the life of a man who when he came to the crossroads in life to do or not do that which was wrong, he hated, eschews, shunned, said no to evil.
The Apostle Paul in Romans 7:19 tells of the struggle that goes on in all of our lives and went on in his life as he describes for us being pulled one direction and going another. “For the good that I will do, I do not do. And the evil that I would not do, that I do.” Paul tells us that apart from the Spirit of God and the power of God in our lives, we cannot stay away from evil. It will suck us in and ruin us. God give us strength to strengthen the fiber of our lives to be able to say at every turn that would lead us wrong and everything that we should not be a part of no. We all need a strong dose of Vitamin N.
The second thing is to say no to influences. By that I mean those people or places or things that pull us away from God and influence us to be a part of something we know is not right. All of us have influencers in our lives. We may deny it and think that we are self-starters, self-thinkers, and in control of our lives, but we have friends and family, forces that are in our lives that pull us in one direction or another usually unexpected and little preparation made for the influence we are facing. Much like it must have been for Joseph when as a servant for Potiphar’s household, he was called into a room where Potiphar’s wife was and there this handsome young man was face to face with seduction.
What do you do when that moment comes? When the influence of someone could overwhelm you? You say no. Paul tells us that you’re not going to get in a place where if you turn to God there will always be a way of escape. Joseph simply left the room. When she grabbed his cloak, he left it and was not going to be where the influence was or give in to the influence in his life. If that was a rare thing in Joseph’s day, it may be rarer today. Maybe there’s a great shortage among God’s people even of the Vitamin N that is needed.
A final thought is that we take enough Vitamin N that we will say no to attitudes. Have you ever thought about it that attitudes – your attitude, my attitude, our attitudes – shape and somewhat direct almost everything we do and every relationship that we have. I’m meaning that you can have a good attitude or a bad attitude. You can have a mean attitude or a kind attitude, but it governs everything. Relationships in home, in work, in friendships, even with people we don’t know. Attitudes.
The Apostle Paul writes to the church of the Ephesians and tells the folks at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” He paints for us a pretty rough picture of what our attitudes can be – bitter, angry, filled with outbursts and evil speaking – and he says, no, put all that stuff aside. In Christ, here’s the direction you need to go. Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Attitude has a lot to do with how we look at ourselves and others and ourselves in relationship to others.
You may be well aware of the fact that your attitude is not right. You may be well aware of the fact that somebody has done you wrong and hurt you. You think you don’t need to forgive because they’ve not asked you to forgive them. They’re not deeply repentant about it and they don’t deserve your forgiveness. Really? Paul said we are supposed to forgive as Christ forgave us. Truth be known, not one of us deserved forgiveness either and yet He does offer it, give it to us, not withholding it; He frees us from the bondage of our own sin.
Oh that God could work and help us. If we could get a supply of Vitamin N and say no to wrong attitudes, bad attitudes, destructive attitudes so that God could bring about rejoicing, revitalization, renewal, and redemption in us. God help us to get near Him and ask Him to supply us with doses of Vitamin N.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral