When Yes Just Means Yes

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. James 5:12

Lighthouse BaptistAs our Pastor concludes his exposition of the letter from James, a series of monumental benefits for me personally, Lord willing, he has set to carry us through a more subject-type approach, topical if you will, declaring the gospel in a chain of messages over the next several weeks.

Leaving James then, a moment of reflection cannot be a bad thing, to hit upon something from the quoted verse above.

It is those three words, “but above all,” that eluded me previously, but our Pastor picked up on with Sherlock-like scrutiny. Imagine all the things James could have concluded to revere above all, but instead, picked our being a people who could be trusted to mean and do what we say.

This hits a little close to home because by nature I am overly un-confrontational. Not only that, I have a huge problem with wanting to avoid another’s disappointment with me. I’m sure there’s a mental issue there somewhere.

Someone asks, “Can you do this?” to which I reply, “Yes, of course,” knowing there is no way on earth I can fit their request into my schedule.

Why would this be such an issue for James to conclude it “above all?”

After all, we live in a day when it is nothing unusual to hear promises made and un-kept. Our entire political system is made up of those who have mastered this art.

The disciple of the Master should need no swearing, as in “I promise, or cross my heart…,” for a simple yes means I’ll do it or I’ll be there, and a no means I can’t realistically do this… sorry.

It is “above all” because of the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are to declare the Word of God to be true, that Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection has graced abundant life to sinners, that He is the Truth and the Way, who will believe one whose word cannot be trusted? Will we not find utter condemnation in foolishness as this?

When James previously spoke of “slow to speak,” he alluded of course to hearing the Word, and yet, this same slowness may be beneficial before making a commitment.

On a closing note, as I’ll miss these practical words from a disciple long ago, are you suffering today… pray; are you cheerful… sing; is any among you sick… call the elders and take advantage of the medical advances of the day. And by all means, let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no.

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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2 Responses to When Yes Just Means Yes

  1. ccragamuffin says:

    To be a person of integrity…to say what you mean and mean what you say…is a spiritual discipline that runs through Scripture. It is an area I am still training in. You shed a bright warm light on it with your words. Yet I have been pondering something difficult that this particular Sword of the Word has cut into…WHY do I add anything to a simple “yes” and “no”??

    What compels me to want to manipulate the hearer,
    or to force the issue,
    or to validate myself,
    or to make an impressive claim of honesty?

    What is going on in my heart that needs to cloak itself in a veneer of virtue?

    And are these heart issues the real reason that my tongue takes takes off with too much verbiage?

    Painful ponderings. The work is still in progress.

    • mtsweat says:

      Painful ponderings indeed, and praises to our God, we each are a work still in progress. It has been a rewarding eye opening experience to journey through James with our Pastor guiding, and by no means was this the only gem tucked away. By the way, thanks for the list view of so many questions I too am asking. I think I know at least a large portion of the answer. Oh this work in progress…

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