Say ‘Yes’ To God by Mike Betts

Mike Betts on Lowestoft Beach

Well here we go again, another year! I’ll begin with a reflection on what I preached last week in church. I felt stirred from Psalm 95:7 – ‘today if you hear his voice do not harden your heart’.

The heart is the seat of our emotions, our thoughts, feelings, the real us. This is the one thing above all scripture tells us to guard; ‘above all guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life’. Guarding your heart is not an easy business. Lots of things can cause it to get hardened to life, other people and even to its own voice.
A hard heart does not always happen overnight. It is ‘do not harden your hearts’. This is a process not so much an event.

Even God has problems with a hard heart!
It is especially important we do not let this process of hardening take place in response to things God says to us. History teaches us that God can make kingdoms rise and fall, control events in the universe, and perform miraculous reversals of how things normally are. Yet to God a hardened heart presents a problem. Adam and Eve hardened their hearts to God’s voice of instruction and met with catastrophic results.

How careful therefore we must be if today we hear his voice.
God does not speak in strong directional ways every day. He does speak through his word, through creation and through the life of his son. But on occasions this general and specific revelation of his voice is personalised to us as God stoops down as it were and addresses us individually and personally. His voice can be surprising as Paul discovered.
It is however always filled with love and deep insight of us and our lives. It is especially when he speaks that the condition of our hearts is vital.

How is your heart today?
Is there any hardening taking place. Does he finds us like easily workable clay or are there brittle and dried bits that require fresh water fed into them to again make them pliable in the hands of the master potter?

A glance through scripture will show that the men and women who were used by God were essentially people who learned to say ‘Yes’ to God. Church history also rings out with the testimony of men and women of destiny who said ‘Yes’ to God and continued to do so all of their lives through.

Saying ‘Yes’
God requires us to say ‘Yes’ to his voice even though mostly we will not know the full implications of what we are saying ‘Yes’ to. This is the essence of what it is to Follow Christ. The Christian life is not static it is active and mobile.

Christ himself said ‘Yes’ to God all of his life. If he had not done this you and I would not have any salvation. He said ‘I have come to do your will O God’. He said even in Gethsemane ‘Not my will but your will be done’. He was not blindly and reluctantly saying ‘Yes’. He said he was not being forced to lay down his life but rather laid it down willingly. If he said ‘Yes’ to Father God, how much more if we claim to be his followers should we do the same, after the pattern he has shown us?

God speaks to whole churches and asks them to say ‘Yes’ to new faith filled exploits. He speaks to movements.

What about you?
What is he saying? Perhaps it is not a dramatic word, perhaps it is ‘be patient’ – that can be a challenge in a time of anxiety and uncertainty when we want answers. What about ‘let go of your disappointment’ – we can easily get hardened hearts if we feel something or someone let us down badly. We hear God speak another time and complain ‘it went wrong before, how do I know it will not go wrong again?’

Such questions, whilst humanly understandable, can come from a heart that is in the process of hardening. Jesus died with ‘Why?’ on his lips. If he died asking his Father ‘why have you forsaken me?’, then surely we can live with some questions of ‘why?’ He left us a pattern to follow. We must follow.

What will God ask of me this year? I see big challenges ahead; to be truthful some of them require faith to even consider attempting. All I know is I know there is no other way to, as the Hymn says, ‘be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey’.

I pray this year is a year when we all say ‘Yes’ to God.


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