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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Yes and No

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

For as many as may be the promises of God, in him they are yes; wherefore also by him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. 2 Cor. 1:20 NAS

The first and greatest act of our will is this: I choose Christ, I receive his sacrifice at the Cross and I give him my heart and life. In the Cross he has said an eternal yes to us, and continues to invite us into that yes. Ours is the amen to his yes.

The Lord impressed me one day with this idea: “Your yes is greater, weightier, than your no.” I’ve been pondering that, realizing that we must say no not just to evil, but to detrimental habits and the lesser things. As C. S. Lewis reminds us in The Weight of Glory, we fool around with lesser things “when infinite joy is offered to us…we are far too easily pleased.” While our no is necessary, every necessary no contains the yes, the doorway to the greater things, the larger more life-giving things that lead us to victory and spiritual formation.

In the early 80s ad execs came up with the slogan “just say no” and first lady Nancy Reagan adopted it as her platform against drugs. Catchy, yes. Effective? Probably not so much as hoped. In order for a teenager (or anyone else) to say no, they must have something to say yes to. There must be something greater, more promising than the no. Yes is always the stronger thing. We are designed this way. We need noble purposes to aspire to. We need something outside of ourselves that draws us to a greater choice, a more substantial commitment, a weightier hope.

Saying no to fear opens the space for yes. We use our imaginations in expectancy---the yes is expectancy of the greater, the creative, the true from the Lord. On a recent prayer walk, I realized I needed to say no by putting away some old disappointment in a certain area. As I did so, I then received a replacement – I said yes to the promises of God, to joyful expectation that he would meet me with his goodness (Ps. 59:10), and that he would transform my pain into beauty. I had grace to say yes to something more noble, wise, truthful, right, just, and full of life and understanding (Prov. 8).

Early in my Christian life I focused on what not to do, and while we do have to say no’s, that focus doesn’t bring fullness. Life is in his promises. Our yes to his promises helps us possess what’s really ours. He asks for our no because he holds out the greater, the richer possibilities for our yes. And the yes is an entrance leading us to freedom and all the promises that come to life with our yes.

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