Do you want to learn how to say yes to God? Many of us do. But saying yes to what God asks may include saying no to what you want and to what others think is best…how do you say yes when it’s hard to do?
This is when things get complicated on a Mindful Monday, right? It is so easy to go along with God’s program when we are on board, but what about when God’s “ask” requires us to risk too much, leave our comfort zones, or walk by blind faith?
Saying yes to God is a bold declaration. We have to be certain we know what we are getting into before we claim we are “all in.”
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO SAY YES TO GOD?
Since I am a person who needs concrete, real-life examples, I have been praying, seeking God, and going back to the Bible for some answers. I wanted to see what saying yes looks like. Does that make sense?
So I started by making a list of all the ordinary, flawed, messed up, scared, and insecure people in the Bible who said yes to God not knowing what it would mean for their lives.
- Noah said YES when God asked him to build the ark.
- Abraham said YES when God asked him to sacrifice his only son.
- Joseph said YES when God asked him to forgive his brothers who beat and sold him into slavery.
- Moses said YES when God told him to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites go.
- Rahab said yes when asked to hide the Israelite spies and risk her own life and the lives of her family.
- David said YES when God asked him to fight the giant Goliath with only a slingshot and a few stones.
- Esther said YES when Mordecai told her to go to the king to save her people.
- Daniel said YES when God told him not to bow down and worship other idols.
- Mary said YES when the angel told her she would carry God’s son, Jesus.
- The disciples said YES when Jesus asked them to leave everything behind and follow him.
- Paul said YES when God asked him to deliver the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles.
I also reread one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. It is the story of young Samuel and how the Lord called him. Please make time read the story for yourself in 1 Samuel, Chapters 1-3 this week.
Just to give you a little background information on Samuel:
Hannah, Samuel’s mother, was barren for several years before she had him. One day, while praying and weeping in the temple, she begged God for a child. She made a vow that if God gave her a son, she would give that child back to the Lord to serve him all the days of his life (1 Samuel 1:1-11).
God answered her prayer and gave her Samuel.
Faithful Hannah fulfilled her promise by bringing Samuel to the temple when he was just a young boy. He lived with the elderly priest, Eli, in the temple and served him and the Lord, growing in both favor and stature (1 Samuel 1:24-28; 2:18-21,26).
The story of the Lord calling Samuel takes place in Chapter 3. The scene is so typical and ordinary; it is easy to picture.
At this time, Samuel is a very young teenager. He is trying to go to sleep when he hears someone calling his name. Thinking it is Eli who might need him, he gets up and goes to Eli saying, “Here I am, Eli. What do you need?” Eli tells him that he didn’t call him, so he should go back to bed. Samuel tries to resume sleeping but hears his name again, so he returns to Eli. Very much like Groundhog Day! Eli assures him that he did not call him and that he should return to bed and try to rest. When it happens for the third time, Eli takes notice and realizes that it is indeed the Lord who is calling Samuel and tells Samuel to go back and respond to the Lord.
And Samuel does.
When the Lord calls Samuel for the fourth time, Samuel responds, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
You can go on and read the rest of Chapter 3 to learn more about what God asked Samuel to do. It was not easy–especially for a young teenager!
But Samuel said yes to God. And by following his example, there are lessons we can learn.
HOW DO WE SAY Y-E-S TO GOD?
1) YIELD– BE PREPARED TO MEET GOD ON HIS TERMS.
Samuel was in the temple learning, serving and growing. He was in the right place to hear from and respond to God when He called. What are we doing to prepare ourselves for when God calls? Are we helping others, praying daily, and studying the Bible? Are we intentionally surrounding ourselves with wise people? Do we belong to a community of believers? My son does not prepare to play football by sitting at home watching TV and playing Xbox. He spends countless hours each week lifting weights, practicing on the field, and learning plays with his teammates. We cannot expect to be ready for what God calls us to do if we are not in His arena following His playbook.
2) EXPECT – BE LISTENING FOR GOD’S VOICE.
Yes, Samuel was in bed where it was dark and quiet, but his ears were open. And when he heard his name, he responded immediately. Our lives can get so noisy. We can get so distracted. Are we making time and space for solitude so that we can hear God when he speaks? Do we even expect God to hear God’s voice or are we filling our lives with so much mindless activity so that we cannot hear? Are we unconsciously ignoring that still, small voice because we are not sure if we want to respond? We cannot say yes to God if we are not listening for His voice.
3) SURRENDER – BE OPEN TO WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY.
What God told Samuel to do was difficult. God asked him to deliver a very tough message to Eli, a man he loved and respected. But Samuel was obedient. He said yes before even knew what God was calling him to do. What about us? Are we willing to say yes no matter what? Or is our yes dependent on what God wants us to do? Most of us would prefer to have the game plan ahead of time so that we have options and can decide accordingly. Unfortunately, God does not give us that option. He wants our yes first. We cannot fully surrender to God if we come with conditions.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE SAY YES TO GOD
In looking at Samuel and all of the others listed from the Bible, we can conclude three things about saying yes to God:
- It may be difficult.
- It may be unpopular.
- It may be uncomfortable.
But also rewarding and life-changing, right? Don’t forget that saying yes is just the beginning of the story. God provided for, protected, and fulfilled His promises to each person who stepped out in faith and boldly followed God’s directions.
I may not say yes as often as I should, but my heart longs to on this Mindful Monday. Doesn’t yours?
I want to be faithful and obedient. I want to say that I am “all in” no matter what.
Consider what God may ask you to say yes to this week and list it in the comments below so that we can pray for you. You do not have to give all the specific details (I understand because I am a private person too!), but putting it out there might help you take the first step toward obedience.
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