Just Say “Yes” (David Smith)

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Recently I was discussing with several pastors the issue of finding and obeying God’s will. They all agreed how difficult it is to find His will as they made decisions. As we pondered the topic further, it was clear that in their minds the term “God’s will” sounded a bit distant and disconnected. As if “His will” is something God keeps hidden from them and they had to wrestle with Him to uncover it, much like Jacob at Bethel. Thus, I attempted to alter that paradigm for them, because I do not think anything could be farther from the truth. What if we made the statement just a bit more relational…I want us to learn to hear God’s voice. A subtle yet significant change to His will.

A great place to start would be the key parable in each of the Synoptic Gospels. Take just a minute and read Mark 4:1-9:

Jesus began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,

Listen to this!

Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Often when I hear sermons preached or Bible Studies done on this passage, the discussion circles about the call of this passage to be “good soil.” But there is nothing explicit about this in the parable. There is only one imperative Greek verb in the whole passage. Sorry to sound like a Greek geek but in actuality there is only one command in the entire parable, it’s found in the word, LISTEN. The hallmark of being a Christ follower in this parable is simply listening to His voice. Let’s not make this more complicated than it is; just listen. As a matter of fact, the parable begins and ends with the same call; use your ears and listen. But that takes us to the next step, the implication to obey.

Now once we have the “listening thing” clear in our minds…let’s read one of the best known passages, Romans 12:1-2.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As you probably know, this is a power packed passage, worth pondering and carefully exegeting. But let’s focus our attention to the clear cause-and-effect description given by the Apostle Paul. He is saying this, First, present your bodies as a living sacrifice (somewhat of an oxymoron)…then you be able to prove what the will of God is.

Think about this question, “Why do you want to know the will of God?” Be honest with yourself. Most people ask to know the Lord’s will so that they can ponder if they like what He is asking of them…or even worse, if they even want to obey. Let me make this as clear as I can, our task is not to consider the option of obeying or even mull over what part we like or will consider doing. Our act of faith is just to say, “Yes Lord Yes.” So, if you really want to know the Lord’s will, just say YES…and then ask Him what you have to agree to. Simply, sign on the dotted line and then follow Him as the faith contract begins to be written in your daily walk.

Finding the Will/voice of God is just saying YES, in advance of knowing what it is. That is true faith…and it will make your life so much easier to live. Temptations to disobey will cease to become a part of your walk, because you have already agreed to His will.

Lord,

Give us ears to hear and hearts that are undivided towards Your voice Jesus,

Give us a holy walk that resembles Yours.

Amen

Now, Go with God

  • Jose F Flores

    Dear Dr. Smith, I am a student at the Seminary but haven’t had the opportunity to know you in person even though I live in the city and come to campus to study at the library. What a great article to confirm what I believe and have teaching to many persons, students here at IWU, and sometimes even to remind myself of the “contract’ I signed with Him many years ago. I think we don’t listen because we talk too much when we pray and don’t let the Triune God to begin a dialogue with us. We have not developed the spiritual discipline of silence in a culture that makes us to talk all the time; cell phones, social media, and other ways to communicate with others. We don’t stop talking. Thank you for your words, for your teaching. May I use your words to teach others?

    Rev. Jose F. Flores

    Marion, Indiana