Saying YES! to God :: Tim Mossholder
YES…The Most Important Word You can Say to God.
Saying YES to God is the most important choice you’ll ever make in your life! Why? Because God waits for your permission to unfold his incredible plan for your life — a plan that includes healing from pain, freedom from sin and guilt, and the reality of never-ending life. God will never force this amazing plan on you. Instead, he patiently and lovingly waits for you to say YES to him. Isn’t that amazing? The creator of the universe waits for you and me to say YES to him.
Some people never say YES to God. They live their lives saying NO — choosing to live by their own rules and desires. The problem is, if you live by your own rules, you’ll die by them as well. God’s word, the Bible, is clear about this: every plan but his leads to death. Only his plan leads to life. The Bible tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
What is “sin?” It’s saying NO to God. Sin says, “I know better than God! I’ll live my own way and make the choices I want to make.” Some people sin out of rebellious pride — they know what God says, and they choose to do their own thing anyway. Others sin out of ignorance — they’ve grown up doing their own thing, never really thinking about God’s life-giving plan.
No matter why someone hasn’t said YES to God, the result is clear: death. And death isn’t just what occurs when you stop breathing. Ultimately, death is the complete separation from God, both now and for eternity. The great news is that no one has to die outside of God’s plan. When you say YES to him, he promises you will have a new life with him.
Here is God’s promise, spoken by Jesus: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Saying YES to God means:
1. You believe he is real.
2. You believe what he said is true — his plan is the only way to have real life, both here on earth and forever.
3. You choose to live your life continuing to say YES to him.
It’s that simple. If you have done these things, then God has heard your “YES,” and his promise and plan for you has been secured. As you read through the following pages, you’ll discover more about this amazing choice you’ve made.
Who did You Say YES to?
You said YES to the ONE TRUE God.
When you said YES to God, you weren’t joining a church or having a religious experience — you were entering into a relationship with the only one who can truly save you. There are other religions with other gods. But only Jesus died for you, only Jesus rose from the dead, and only Jesus has the power to save you! No other religious leader can make those claims.
Jesus wanted to make sure we really understood that he is the one true God, not just a “good idea” or “one way out of many” to get to heaven. Jesus said to his followers: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Peter, one of Jesus closest followers, understood this. After Jesus returned to heaven, Peter declared, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). There aren’t many different paths to heaven and there aren’t many ways to be freed from our sin. Jesus is the one true way, sent by God to secure our freedom and eternal life.
You said YES to the God who LOVES YOU.
Some people imagine God as being a cruel judge. They think he can’t wait to punish them for every mistake and that he’s just looking for opportunities to zap them with lightning bolts. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fact is that God is desperately in love with every person on earth. He is truly the greatest lover of all time — in fact the Bible tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:16).
God’s love is so great that it extends even to those of us who have hated or ignored him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” God loves sinners — that means he loved us even before we said YES to him.
Because God loves us so deeply, he has given us the most incredible gift: his own Son. 1 John 4:9-10 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
God’s love is something we don’t have to earn — we couldn’t if we tried. Since we could never be “good enough” to deserve his love, he gives it to us freely. All we have to do is receive it by saying YES to him. God gives his love with no strings attached — it is unconditional. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You said YES to the God who makes PROMISES.
Not only is he the one true God who loves us, but he is also the God who makes promises — the Bible is full of them. Read these promises out loud and realize they are for everyone (including you) who says YES to God.
>> God Promises Never-Ending Life
“And this is what God has testified: he has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have his Son does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die’” (John 11:25-26a).
>> God Promises Freedom from Sin
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9).
“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
>> Jesus Promises to Return Again and Take Us to Heaven
“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:3).
“For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16-17).
>> God Promises to Hear Us when We Pray
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (1 Peter 5:7).
You said YES to the God who is always FAITHFUL.
Have you ever been around someone who makes promises but doesn’t keep them? I’m sure you have. It doesn’t take long before you quit believing what they say.
One of the most incredible qualities of God, however, is his complete and total faithfulness. He not only makes promises, but he keeps them! Hebrews 10:23 says, “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” And King David wrote, “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:13b NIV).
The issue of God’s faithfulness is so important, because if God were not perfectly faithful, then it would be foolish for us to put our trust in him. But since he is faithful, we can put our full confidence in him and everything he says. When we say YES to God we aren’t placing ourselves on shaky ground — we are standing upon the firm foundation of God’s unshakable faithfulness.
And in case you’re wondering, God’s faithfulness didn’t end when Jesus returned to heaven. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Isn’t that great to know? The same faithful Jesus who was there for his friends; the same faithful Jesus who went out of his way to heal the sick and spend time with outcasts; the same faithful Jesus who forgave sinners and rebuked the proud — that same Jesus is here for us today, and He’ll be there for us tomorrow!
What did You Say YES to?
You said YES to SALVATION.
When we say YES to God and his plan, he actually saves us. The Bible is very clear — before we accepted God’s offer of salvation, we were spiritually dead, headed for an eternity completely cut off from God. When we say YES to him, however, he rescues (or “saves”) us and moves us from spiritual death to life in him.
God’s word tells us, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5a). And Jesus himself declared, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
Jesus called this radical change, from death to life, being “born again.” He used this phrase to help us understand it’s not enough to be physically alive. Just because our heart is beating doesn’t mean we have spiritual life. There must be a moment, a time of new birth, when we say YES to God and receive spiritual life through him.
You said YES to HOPE.
Hopelessness is all around us in our world — and for good reason. Without God, this world (along with all its trouble, pain, worries and death) is all you get. Even if you can manage to live a fairly decent, pain-free life, it will still come to an end someday. Where is the hope in that? It is only when God enters our lives that we can truly move from hopelessness to hope.
We have hope because of who God is and what he has promised us. These things remain constant and true, even during the middle of difficult challenges. Listen to the words of Jeremiah, a faithful servant of God who was going through a very painful time. “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:19-23).
Jeremiah knew that his source of hope wasn’t based on his circumstances — his hope was in the living God. No matter what you are facing right now, no matter how bad it is, you don’t have to be trapped in hopelessness. When you said YES to God, you entered into a relationship with the one who is bigger than your problems. He is your hope. With God you can make it! Romans 15:13 (NIV) encourages us with this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
You said YES to FORGIVENESS.
When Jesus died on the cross, history was split in two. This event was the single-most defining moment of all time. Jesus willingly laid down his own life in order to pay the price for the sin of the world, including yours and mine. Why did he do this? So that we could experience forgiveness for all our sin. When we say YES to God, we are forgiven and no longer have to carry the weight of guilt and shame for all we’ve done wrong. No matter how bad we’ve been, God’s forgiveness is total and complete.
God promises, “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! (Isaiah 1:18 TLB).
But couldn’t there have been another way? Did Jesus really have to die so our sins could be forgiven? Jesus really did have to die — it was the only way. There had to be a radical payment made for the wrongs that have been committed throughout history by mankind — and the only payment radical enough was God’s own perfect and sinless Son, Jesus.
The Bible says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin” (Romans 3:23-25a).
You said YES to FREEDOM.
One of the worst things about sin is, without Jesus, we are trapped in it. Sin is a perversely addictive force from which we are unable to walk away in our own power. Before we said YES to God, sin was our master and we were its slave. But now that we have said YES to God, we have freedom from the control of sin and its authority over us has been broken.
God himself paid the price so we could be free from the grip of sin. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sin” (Ephesians 1:7).
This freedom we now have doesn’t mean we’ll never sin again. It means that we don’t have to sin — God has given us the power to say NO to sin and to make right choices instead. Romans 6:16-18 tells us, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”
No matter how trapped you have been by sin, God can set you free. Drugs, lust, pride, hatred, habits and addictions are no match for the incredible power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Just as you have chosen to say YES to God’s salvation, choose now to walk in his power and live free from a lifestyle of sin.
How do You Keep Saying YES to God?
It’s one thing to say YES to God and begin our relationship with him, but it’s another thing to keep saying YES to God for a lifetime. Accepting his promise of salvation is pretty easy — after all, Jesus did all the hard work — all we have to do is receive and act upon his promise. It’s more challenging, however, to live in such a way that our relationship with God will continue to grow. We actually have to work at it!
Paul understood this principle. He was one of the early followers of Jesus and was an amazing leader. Paul traveled around from city to city sharing the good news of Jesus, and he wrote many books of the Bible. But even this great Christian leader understood that he had to press forward and keep saying YES to God. Here’s what Paul said: “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).
Like Paul, we need to realize we’re “still not all we should be.” But by continuing to say YES to Jesus, we won’t stumble and fall — we’ll finish the race and receive all God has for us.
Below are five action points that will help you keep focused on growing in your relationship with Jesus. These are not things you “have to do” to be saved. These are things you “get to do” because you are saved!
Get PLUGGED IN to a local church.
God’s Word tells us to, “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22b). Nothing will help you continue to grow as a Christian like being involved in authentic relationship with other people who have chosen to follow God.
Get BAPTIZED in water.
If you have not yet been baptized in water, then take this step soon. It’s not only a public declaration that you have said YES to God, it’s also an important step of obedience as you live your life continuing to follow him. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you…”
Get into PRAYER.
Prayer is a form of active communication, talking and listening, interacting with the living God who desires to be in relationship with us. We are instructed in Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Get into GOD’S WORD.
The Bible is truly amazing. It contains everything we need to come to an understanding of who God is, how he wants us to live, and how we can have a relationship with him through his son, Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.”
Get away from SIN.
When you said YES to God, and confessed your sin to him, he forgave you and completely took away your sin and guilt. We don’t need to keep repenting for old sin — it’s already gone. But part of continuing to say YES to God means learning to say NO to sin. The Bible teaches us, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV). This is a challenging process, but you can do it. Like Paul, “strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize!”
How to Say YES!
If you haven’t yet put your trust fully in Jesus, you can do it right now. There’s no better time or place than where you are at this very moment. He’s just been waiting for you to say YES to him. To do that, you can say a simple prayer like this:
“Jesus, I believe you’re who you say you are in the Bible – that you are the Son of God who loves me, died for me, and rose again in power. Thank you for forgiving me of all my sin so I can be alive in you forever. I confess that you, Jesus, are the Lord of my life, and from this day on I will follow after you.”
Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.