May 26, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Let Your Yes Be Yes
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries
"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)
My 10-year-old son stood before me and proclaimed his innocence. Yet I had a mother's nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right. The pieces weren't fitting together. I couldn't prove he was guilty of the offense, nor could I prove he was lying. What I did think happened, was that his bright mind discovered a technicality that would allow him to tell "a" truth - but not the whole truth.
It seems that the Israelites weren't too different from us. Just like little kids who think a lie is ok if their fingers are crossed, the Israelites were experts at twisting the law to fit their purposes.
In the middle of the greatest sermon ever told - the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus addressed the issue of oath taking. In verses 33-36, Jesus summarized the laws that forbade irreverent oaths, misuse of the Lord's name and broken vows. It seems people were swearing by all kinds of things in order to prove the truth of their words.
"I really mean it this time. I swear!" I can imagine them saying.
But Jesus called their bluff and ours when He cut through the technicalities right to the heart of the matter. The purpose of the Old Testament law was to encourage thorough and consistent truthfulness. God desired a people whose very lives reflected truth in word and deed.
In the first half of verse 37 Jesus tells His followers to live a life of simplicity and integrity: "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No' ..."
What a picture of an honorable life! If I say yes, I will be there at 10 a.m. - I am there at 10 a.m. If I say yes, I will have that assignment done by next Friday, it's done by next Friday. No flimsy excuses, no technicalities.
If I say "No, you can't have a cookie before dinner," my child knows there's no way around this block wall.
God is truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Truth in full and not in part.
As His people, we are called to live truthful lives. I believe it's important for our word to mean something. Because when others trust us in the small things, they learn they can trust us in the big things.
So, when you have an opportunity to share the truth about our living God, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and you have been consistently and thoroughly truthful in the past, your words will ring true.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, You are truth. In you there is no shadow of darkness. Please remove any shadows from my life, and help me walk in integrity. I know I need your help to become like Jesus. I submit my life to you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Consider areas of your life that need to be reshaped by the truth. Start to become a woman of your word by choosing one area to be thoroughly truthful. Is it being on time, doing what you say you will do, or confessing when you have not done something you said you would do? Commit to having your words consistently match your deeds.
What are some common lies people tell?
What results can happen when a person regularly fails to keep his or her word?
Why is it difficult to tell the truth some times?
What is one area you need to grow in your commitment to let your yes be yes and your no be no?
What are some of the benefits of cultivating honesty in all areas of your life? (Examples: relational benefits, emotional benefits, spiritual benefits, other)
Psalms 40:11 "You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." (NAS)
Proverbs 3:3-4 "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man." (NAS)
John 8:31-32 "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'" (NAS)
Luke 8:15 "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (NAS)
Proverbs 10:9 "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." (NIV)
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes