Find Your Yes
Imagine walking into Starbucks and looking over the menu, smiling at the barista and then say “I’d like to not order a tall mocha frappuccino.” Your barista might smile in confusion at first, but if you kept telling her all the drinks you don’t want to order, you would both be quickly frustrated at how ineffective your “no’s” were at defining your “yes”. But if you walk up to her and say “I’d like a quad grande Americano” (a great choice by the way), she would know exactly what to deliver, and you would get what you want a lot quicker!
Saying yes is always easier than saying no. We’re drawn to yes’s, to positivity, to making good choices. You are wired for making good choices, because you have the Spirit of the living God in you. His plans for you are good, and He is always leading you on the righteous right path. The Holy Spirit loves saying yes, and loves teaching us how to say yes. Where it gets difficult, is when we have to say no. Saying no to something that we know feels good, or looks good, or is pleasurable, or easy - saying no to these things is difficult. It’s difficult because it appears to be a choice between two things, between pleasure in the moment or a value we have that doesn’t seem to have any immediate benefit. A choice between spirit and flesh.
But the truth is, these things are not equal. Flesh is not the equal of spirit, it’s a cheap substitute. Momentary pleasure is not an equal of character and value. If you frame it as a choice between 2 equals, and you’re trying to convince yourself to say no to one of them, you’re setting yourself up to fail. But if you can shift your mindset in that moment of temptation, and see that what you’re really doing is saying yes to something greater, it becomes much easier to do the right thing.
When we say yes to what God is saying yes to, we have all of heaven cheering us on. It doesn’t mean everything is easy, but it does mean that we are agreeing with God’s best for us, and that we can be free from those temptations and sins. Hebrews describes how there is a great cloud of witnesses cheering for us when we say yes.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
Around the time the letter of Hebrews was written, the Romans built the Colosseum, where they would hold foot races. This place was huge, it held 50,000 people - and they had a saying in ancient Rome, that if you were sitting in the top rows, you were “in the clouds”. What we would call the nosebleed section, they had a nicer term for! I think what the author of Hebrews is saying, is that there is a huge number of people cheering for you. A whole stadium full! All the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 - Moses, Abraham, David, Rahab - all these people of faith are “in the clouds”, filling a stadium and cheering for you to find your yes.
By it’s very nature, saying yes to something means you’re also saying no to everything else. Let’s say the thing you’re saying yes to is a healthy marriage. If that is your yes, you’re saying no to dating or sleeping with other people. If you’re single, your yes might be the same! A healthy marriage can be a yes, a value you hold and a dream you have. As a single person, this yes means that you’re saying no to sexual activity until you are married. But if you’re struggling with pornography or other sexual temptations, saying no is difficult.
Finding your yes means that you can focus on the righteous path. You get to partner with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to teach you how to say yes, even in the face of temptation. Finding your yes gives you ground to stand on when the enemy tries to offer you a cheap substitute.
What is a temptation you face, where it would help to have a strong yes?
Maybe it’s not sexual sin, but something else. Whatever your area of temptation is, there is hope. It is possible to overcome and to see change and restoration. There is no condemnation for you (Romans 8:1). The best thing you can do, is bring it into the light. Find a friend or counsellor you can trust, and tell the full truth of what you’ve faced. And then ask the Holy Spirit to help you find your yes. God wants you to run without being hindered by temptation and sin. We’re cheering for you.