Saying Yes and Saying No

sayyesandnoIf we are to enhance and build up the capacities for a good, wholesome, and holy life, we must learn to say yes to what affirms and renews wholeness and life. And we must learn to say a related no to what induces and brings about destruction and ruin. In this practice, we are invited and challenged to make a fully conscious choice about who it is we are and who it is we shall become.

What is God stirring in your heart that needs a “yes” of time to understand better and a related “no” to other things to give it space to grow?


Spirituality is not a spectator sport. We can’t simply rely on others to get in shape for us. The spiritual life requires personal effort over the long haul. Reflect on these questions:

How has our culture trained us instead to expect immediate results for our efforts?

How do I expect my pastor and my church to have faith for me?

How has my faith been grown by the choices I’ve made or stunted?

How is my faith maturing into a living and activity experience of God, one another and the world that is my own experience in relationship with my church community, family and others who influence my faith?


Say Yes to the Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Activity: pick one of the fruit of the spirit to work on during your day.

As an example, become conscious of self-control. Write it on notes in your office, at home, wherever you are as a reminder. Consider these questions during your day? What is trying to take away control, eating too much, working too many hours, buying too many things? To what do you need to say no so that you can say yes to self-control?

Reflect on the day: how often did you say yes and related no to stay focus on a fruit of the spirit? By saying no, what did you experience that you would have missed? How did saying yes to one of the fruit of the spirit connect you to God, one another and the world?

saying yes and saying no paths

Listen to the Prayers of Others in the Bible. Click here for the prayers.

The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

The Midnight Visitor (Luke 11:5-8)

Moses (Exodus 32:7-14)

Hannah (1 Samuel 1:9-18)

David (2 Samuel 6:1-5)

Daniel (Daniel 9:1-6,17-19)

Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:1-9)

Where does the person pray? How do they use their bodies and voices in prayer? What words do they speak or don’t speak? How is this prayer like the prayers you offer in your life?


Strengthening Our Yes or Our No Through Prayer

Who is someone you believe knows how to pray? Reflect on what you know of this person’s prayer life, or ask the person to talk with you about it. Consider how prayer might strengthen your ability to say “yes” or “no” to something. To what must you say “yes” or “no” in order to come to prayer? How are you asking God to guide you in saying “yes” or “no” to have a healthy and whole life?


Strengthening Our Yes or Our No Through Examination of Conscience

Reflect on the following questions

How do things stand between you and God?

To what are you really saying “yes” with your life?

What kind of person are you making of yourself in your daily choices?

Make an appointment with your pastor or other person you trust to examine ways to open up to God in your life and develop actions you can take?


Strengthening Our Yes or Our No Through Faith-sharing Groups

Do you have adequate spiritual nourishment or emotional support for the “yes” you seek to say? To what do you think your community needs to say “no”? Is God inviting this community to say any particular “yes”?

Activity: set up a meeting with two or three people to reflect on your faith.

Activity: meet with the appropriate commission/committee to offer some thoughts on ways the church can say “yes” in new ways to God’s activity in our lives and life together and/or “no” to what harms us. How can the commission/committee support that?


Parenting and Saying Yes or No

How often do you say yes or no to your children out of habit, without much awareness? Which word does you child(ren) hear more often? Become more aware of which word you are saying when you answer your child(ren) and help them see what you believe will help them best.