"The Way of the Cross is not marked
so much by the intensity of our suffering as by
our willing choice of God's way over our
way...." (David Benner, Desiring God's
No and Yes
surest foundation for resurrection life -
true life - is a resounding "No" and an
equally determined "Yes."
journey of faith stalls at the very
outset for many people, because they say a
genuine "Yes" without a resolute "No." They want
everything God offers, without abandoning the
messages, motives, and manners of the
world. However, Jesus unequivocally
called His disciples to "No" and "Yes."
is the essence of repentance. We decide that we
will not continue as we have.
often measure the sincerity of repentance by
the tears and grief associated with it. We've been
told that real repentance is reflected by
heart-wrenching contrition. But we need not
require such melodrama. Often, repentance is
simply the decision to say "No" to old habits,
ways, patterns, values, and lifestyles.
repent when I decide, in a nanosecond of
opportunity, not to lie to someone. I repent when
I choose to hold my tongue in a conversation
rather than gossip. I repent when I choose to show
compassion where once I cared so much less.
Metanoia - the Greek term we translate
repentance - simply indicates a "change
the "No!" is even more. I regret my sinful words,
thoughts, and actions but I also refuse to be
defined by my performance, valued for my
possessions, assessed for my intellect, or
measured by my achievements. That's repentance.
will not pursue security in wealth. I will not
compare my accomplishments with someone else. I
will not justify my
anger, impatience, greed, or
competitiveness. I will not tolerate my
jealousy, envy, impurity, or hostility.
I will not embrace workaholism as healthy or
status as desirable. That's
the "Yes." The Yes of the gospel is the decision
to follow Christ. I will let go of the way that
leads to death and follow the Way to life. Yes, I
will believe Jesus when He says that the Father
loves me lavishly. Yes, I will love my enemies,
even when I desperately want to defend myself and
defeat them. Yes, I will show compassion to "the
least of these" rather than criticize them
for indolence or failure. Yes, I will carry the
Cross with my eyes fixed on Him, rather than toss
it to the side in pursuit of quick relief.
constant flow of No - Yes - No - Yes
undergirds the life-change for which we
yearn. Perhaps if we embraced this rhythmic
movement more intentionally we would find our
faith more vibrant than