I encourage you to read (or reread) Bridget’s post from last week. As with everything else with the Lord, when it comes to saying no, there is a balance, or opposite-seeming truth that coincides (e.g. we’re dead to sin, but alive to Christ). While we encourage you to say no to those discouraging, untruthful, negative, destructive thoughts Bridget mentioned (and others she didn’t mention), we now encourage you to say yes to the Lord and His Body. So, for today’s summer school lesson, let’s discuss how to say yes.
Saying Yes to the Lord
To mirror Bridget’s post, while saying no to those thoughts is vital, we have to turn around to say yes to something. To simply say no to one thing leaves us open to say yes to something else. We can choose to say no to hurtful thoughts about one brother or sister but turn to say yes to hurtful thoughts about a different brother or sister. We can choose to say no to gossip but turn to say yes to self-righteousness. We can choose to say no to something not of Christ but turn to say yes to anything else not of Christ. After we say no to that which is death, we now turn to say yes to that which is life, Jesus Christ Himself. (And Bridget hit on this when she mentioned saying the Lord’s name as a way to say no. To say His name, in the context of turning away from something, is akin to saying yes to Him. In turning to Him, we say yes to Him.)
Sometimes, it’s hard to say no to something. For instance, take my Oklahoma City example from my last post. There is a functioning, healthy expression of Christ there that I desperately wanted to stick around to be a part of. That is a good thing and something of Christ. It’s not a negative, destructive thought at all. So, I had a hard time saying no to it. But what wasn’t hard was saying yes to the Lord. In saying yes to Him, I could then say no to (my idea of) staying in OKC to be a part of that Church. (The truth is, btw, that I am a part of that Church, and so are you, if you’re in Christ.) So sometimes, it takes saying yes to Christ first to say no to other things. Even “good” things. But we eat from a different tree, remember? We don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we eat from the Tree of Life.
So, when you say no to something, be sure you turn all the way around to say yes to the Lord. Don’t get caught mid-turn by something else. By the same token, practice saying yes to the Lord first. Then, when those difficult times come in saying no to something, you can say yes to Christ and then say no to that other thing. Saying no goes hand in hand with saying yes, and vice versa.
Saying Yes to the Lord’s Body
The other thing I wanted to mention here concerning saying yes is what some of us call “tilting toward yes” or “leaning toward yes” when it comes to your brothers and sisters. This is a corporate exercise. For example, when the saints are meeting, a brother or sister might stand up with an idea for something for the Church to do.
Brother Bill says, “I really have it on my heart to go downtown and pass out water bottles to people. I think it would be cool if we could take a day next weekend to do that. What do y’all think?” I could spend countless hours writing about the ins and outs of planning meetings and saints functioning and submitting one to another, but for the sake of brevity, let’s start here: Does this suggestion put the Body under law? Does this suggestion cause the Body to sin in any way? If the answer is no, then tilt towards yes with Brother Bill and determine a day to go pass out water bottles to the passersby.
Sister Susie says, “I have an idea for the church to take a few weeks next month to go through Ephesians together to see how many ways we are in Christ. How ’bout it?” Again, any law or sin here? Then lean towards yes with Sister Susie! If a brother or sister has an idea for a kid’s night, or brothers’ or sisters’ weekend, or anything else that doesn’t go against the Life of the Lord, then grin again, gang, and get gung-ho about Jesus! Say yes to the Lord’s Body. Sometimes we need to say no, but that’s when there’s obvious sin involved. Or maybe an idea just needs to be tweaked a little bit, so saints work together to come to an agreement. Again, this is by following the Life of the Lord dwelling within you. This is not a rote methodology. This is by Life, saints!
Oh, and the song is a bonus. I didn’t know this song existed until I was looking for something for this post. But after listening to it, I totally see the Lord singing to His Bride:
Just say yes.
It’s all I want.