From time to time in my walk with God, I’m faced with some major tests and situations that require a lot out of me. These aren’t regular tests and trials, these are major, major situations that sometimes knock me down and takes time to recover from. In these situations, I’m always faced with a choice: I can choose to keep going and keep saying “YES” to God no matter how bad it hurts or how bad things seem, or I can stop saying yes to God and become stagnant and stale or backslide altogether. There are so many Christians who are faced with hard situations and instead of going forward, they go back. I was faced with a situation like this recently and everything in me wanted to respond in my flesh; I was ready to lay down everything I knew was right to do what I thought was justified. I questioned God and what He was doing in my life and felt like what was going on just wasn’t fair. I was shocked, hurt, sad, and could have chosen to remain angry about the situation and angry at God. To be honest, it took me DAYS to get over the situation and choose to continue to say YES to God and trust Him with the situation.
Sometimes things will come in your life that seem completely unjust. Sometimes you can feel like you’ve taken hit after hit and just can’t take anymore. I’ve been there so many times, I’ve lost count. The truth is, the Christian walk is not always going to be filled with mountaintop seasons. You will face many valleys. You will even go through some looooonnnngggg seasons of valley after valley. This is what James 1:3 calls the “testing of your faith.” Your faith WILL be tested. But the purpose of this testing is to “produce endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]” (James 1:3, AMP). The New Living Translation says, “when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” The purpose of the testing is to make you stronger and to show you what areas you are lacking in spiritually. The tests will expose how deeply rooted the word of God is in your heart and how much you really believe it. God wants to get you to the place where you can hang with Him through long seasons of things not going your way and through thick and thin. As He tests you, little by little you’ll be able to endure more and become a more mature Christian.
What will you do when your faith is tested in ways you NEVER expected? What will you do when what is most dear to you is taken away, or your expectations are not met when you wanted or not met at all? What will you do when Jesus asks you to drink of His blood and eat of His flesh? Will you be like the many disciples who turned away from Him and said, “this is a hard saying? (John 6: 60)” Those disciples walked with Him no more because they could not say yes to what He was requiring of them. So many people turn back from following Jesus when He asks them for the hard things – the things that they hold most dear. What will it take for you to turn back from following Jesus? If your health begins to fail will you still follow Him? If you lose your job and your finances begin to crumble, will you still follow Him? If your family comes against you, will you still follow Him? Will you be like Peter and the other 11 disciples who said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69). IS YOUR MIND MADE UP TO SAY YES NO MATTER WHAT? When you have determined in your heart that Jesus Christ is who He says He is – the Son of the Living God – and that life can only be found in Him, your heart will always be prepared to say “YES.” You will have no plan B because He is your plan A to Z.
Now having a mind made up to follow Him no matter what is just the easy part, that is where all of us should be as believers. However, it’s a completely different thing when you’re actually faced with a challenge and you have to choose, again, to say yes. Unexpected things will pop up and God will create situations to test your yes. Like Abraham, He has to know that He can trust you. If He’s going to trust you with great things He needs to know how far you are willing to go for Him and that you’re willing to give anything up. The genuineness of your faith will be tested and tried. God will use these tests to show you where you really are. Often times we sing songs and pray prayers like, “God I’ll go anywhere for You and I’ll do anything.” But will you really go anywhere? Will you really do anything? It’s very easy to say but it’s a completely different thing to actually WALK IT OUT! The walking it out part is the hard part. That’s the part where you may look crazy to others and may even doubt if God is really speaking to you. That’s the part where you are at a crossroads and you know what God said but your flesh wants so badly to do the opposite. That’s when all the songs you sang and prayers you prayed will have to come to life. That is the part that really matters to God – your actual act of obedience. So, what will it take for you to turn back or not obey? Imagine if Abraham chose not to give up his son – the very thing he waited so long for God to give him? But Abraham knew what God told him to do, he had to obey. What if God says that thing you’ve been wanting for so long is not in His plans for you? Or what if He asks you to give up something really dear to you? WILL HE HAVE YOUR YES?
Every day requires another “yes.” Every day you have to willingly choose to give God your ALL. When you’re tired and feel like giving up, He still requires your yes. It’s the daily yeses that prepare you for those hard yeses. It’s the daily dying to self and daily sacrificing for the cause of Christ that prepares you for when those hard seasons or situations come. Your daily obedience and your daily yes gives room for God to move how He wants to move in your life. God can’t have His way in you without your “yes.” I remember years ago when God took something away from me that I wanted so bad and I thought was His will for me, I was shocked, disappointed, and very sorrowful. It was a very unexpected blow. It took me about a week to gather myself together and decide to keep following Jesus even though I didn’t know what He was doing with my life. Then it took me months and even years after that to keep trusting Him with that particular area of my life although I didn’t understand. I had to decide to keep worshiping Him even through the pain and my lack of understanding. You won’t always understand why God asks you to do certain things. Your yes cannot be dependent on your ability to understand what God is doing. Even when you don’t understand or can’t see where He is taking you, He still requires your yes. That’s called blind faith. I’m sure Abraham did not understand why God told him to sacrifice his son, but he knew that God was faithful. Even in the midst of not totally understanding all that God is doing in your life you have to choose to say yes to Him on a daily basis. Each time we choose to say “yes” to God, especially during the tough times, it takes us to another level of glory in Him because our flesh is dying off and out spirit is growing. People will see less of us and more of Jesus. I know without a doubt that I would not be where I am now had I not said yes in that very difficult season years ago. Your OBEDIENCE paves the way for God to move. He may not move how you think He should or He may not even move right away but be patient, He is doing something in you.
Earlier I asked, what will it take for you to turn back from following Jesus? Really think about it: what is that thing that you want really bad and what would you do if God delays it or decides not to give it to you at all. Will you still give Him your “yes?” Can He still count on you to be His good and faithful servant? He needs to know that you’ll go as far as it takes, that you’ll go to any lengths to be His disciple. You can’t want what you want more than you want the Lord. You’re not always going to get what you want when you want it in this Christian walk. Discipleship is about self-denial for the purpose of bringing glory to God and becoming like Christ. God will tell you to deny yourself of some things just so He can produce His nature in you. The person He is molding you to be is far more important than the comforts of your flesh. You may want certain things now, but God has a far greater agenda. When you signed up to be a Christian you gave up your rights and took up His will for you.
This walk comes at a high cost. The Bible even tells us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:26-33) because we will lose things and people for choosing to live for Christ. Sometimes your own family will come against you because you’ve chosen to live for Christ and obey what He tells you. He will ask you to do many things that seem crazy to the carnal mind and carnal minded people around you will oppose and even mock you for choosing to do what He says. But if you can’t forsake mother, father, siblings, friends, and say “yes” to Christ in the midst of their persecutions, then you are not worthy of Him. This is real discipleship! I know there is a “gospel” being preached that says God just wants to give you whatever your heart desires, but if you really study the word you will see that that teaching is so wrong. If Christ had to give up His life and He was our example and even told us to deny ourselves and pick up our cross, why would we think He wants us to just sit around and wait for a blessing? There is no lazy Christianity in the Kingdom of God! God is looking for true disciples who won’t turn back at every bit of wind that blows in their life. There is a dying world that needs to see Christ in you, but God needs to know that you won’t forsake Him and bring His name to a reproach before unbelievers. Evaluate your Christianity and the foundation of what you stand on. If your foundation is built on all the things you think God is going to give you and do for you, then when God doesn’t move the way you want Him to you will find another god who will give you what you want. Let your foundation be on what Christ did on the cross and being made in His image so you can represent Him on the earth. Christianity is not about being comfortable, it’s about becoming like Christ.
Your life and your heart must be in the posture of a “YES” — no matter what happens, no matter the setbacks, the breakdowns, the disappointments, the pressure, the misunderstanding, the surprises, the let downs, the delays, etc., God must have your yes and He must continue to have your yes no matter what comes your way. It’s a JOY to say YES to the Lord! It’s a joy to be called and chosen to not only live for Him but to represent Him on the earth and to be called His own. When we go through things we have to keep this in mind. Many people are in hell right now and can’t get a do-over. Don’t allow one situation make you turn back from following Christ. Continue denying yourself and picking up your cross. Hebrews 12:1-2 says “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus focused on the JOY that was set before Him. There is joy set before you! Things won’t always be the way they are. God has rewards stored up for your obedience. There are rewards here on earth and rewards in eternity. The ultimate joy and reward of eternity with Him is worth any temporary pain you have to face here. So, readily give God your YES with each new season.
Love Him with your “YES, love Him with your obedience. Worship beyond the pain. Your yes is your reasonable act of worship unto God (Rom. 12:2). The fact that you have laid down and reserved (set apart) your life unto Him is worship. We often think worship is just the songs we sing but worship is so much more than that, worship is your life of YES. When you truly love God, you know that He is WORTHY of your yes. He’s worthy of the pain you have to endure, the tears, the persecution, the humiliation, and the ridicule you may have to face at times. He’s worthy of it ALL. Your life is found and hidden in Him, and that’s the best place to be. Your YES is a sweet-smelling aroma to Him, so continue to offer it up willingly and be ready to give Him another yes when it is required of you.
As God gave me the word for this post these two songs have been in my spirit and on repeat for several days. I pray that they bless you as much as they have blessed me: