Ten years ago, I walked down the aisle in my white wedding dress toward the man who is now my husband, Ben. I stood across from him looking into his eyes and made a vow to honor him as my husband for the rest of my life. In that moment, when I said yes to him, I said no to every other man on earth. And trust me, there were a lot who wanted to date me (okay there were at least a few…wink). I didn’t stand there at the altar listing them off like, “Okay well I’m not marrying Edward or Henry…or Joe or Jerry…no to Sam and Will.” All I did was look Ben in the eyes and say, “I’m marrying you.” That meant any other man who came into my life from then on was an automatic no because Ben became my yes.
It’s the same thing with God. When we say yes to Him, we’re saying no to all the other things that might try to compromise our commitment to Him. You can’t say yes to God and then tell Him, “Actually, I’m not going to do what you want me to do.” You’re either surrendered or you’re not. Either He’s Lord of all or He’s not. When we say yes to God, our no becomes complete.
Imagine if we went into Starbucks and when the barista asked us what we wanted, we listed all the things we didn’t want: “Well I don’t want a latte or a frappuccino. Do you guys have those little egg sandwiches? Good, I don’t want one of those either.” When we reach the front of the line, we simply say, “I would like a soy latte at 130 degrees.” (This may be my actual order. I’m a little bit of a chicken with the heat.)
When your yes is set, your no is easy. You don’t have to mull over every decision anymore thinking, “Well maybe this is okay as long as I don’t do it all the time” or “If this only happens on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s okay, I can just clean it up at church on Sunday” or even, “Well, just this once.” When you say yes to Jesus, you are saying no to all of the things that He asks you not to do. He cares about His connection with you. He knows what’s not good for it, and He loves you too much to stand by and say you can do whatever you feel like. We have to have a “yes” to Him that’s so strong, our “no” to everything else comes without hesitation.
In the story of Joseph in Genesis, Joseph was working in the house of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and Potiphar’s wife took notice. She approached Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me.” She must have been cold or something… No, I’m joking, she wanted something else. So there was Joseph, a single, good-looking young man in his master’s house with this woman asking him to come to bed with him, and she was probably gorgeous. I doubt the wife of this wealthy officer of Pharaoh was ugly. But Joseph tells her, “My master has withheld nothing from me except you because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Potiphar’s wife approached him over and over but he never did anything, in fact, the bible says he actually fled and got out of there.
There are things vying for our time and attention today, just like Joseph had. When the computer screen looks at you as if to say, “Just turn it on and look…”; when the girl texts you and says “I could be right over…”; when the guy says, “just one more time…” there’s got to be something within us as a generation, that says
“How could I when I belong to Him?”
How could I date this guy who doesn’t respect my values when I belong to Him?
How could I marry this girl who’s wrong for me when I belong to Him?
How could I look at those images on my laptop when I belong to Him?
This isn’t to trivialize the struggle when we get addicted to something or when there are things we are strongly attracted to. I understand this is a real fight. The thing is, we can’t get free until we admit that we belong to Him. Some of you might be thinking, “Well this is how I’ve always been.” If you don’t believe you can change because of this, then you’re saying that how you’ve always been is stronger than who He is. Believe that you belong to Him and that He can get you free.
There’s got to be something in us that says how could I when I belong to Him? I said “Yes” to Him, so I’m sorry, but I can’t do that anymore.
Choose to say yes to God, and choose to say yes to the beautiful things He’s placed in your hands to steward. Choose to say yes to your family, your friends, your health, the dreams He’s put in your heart, and every good gift He’s given you. Don’t you think it’s worth it? Twenty years from now when you look back on your life, don’t you think you’ll say the “no” you had in the significant moments was worth everything you co-labored with God to build? God wants more good things for you than you can ever imagine, and you can trust Him. You don’t have to focus on saying “no” to all the correct things. Focus on your “yes”, solidify it in Him, and your “no” will not only be easy, it will be more than worth it.
Want to find out more about what having a strong yes looks like?