5 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Saying Yes

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Jesus said, “Blessed are you when you overcommit yourself and exhaust yourself and always say yes to everything and everybody on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven and earth. For you will be supremely loved and valued until you burn out and lose your noble reason for saying yes in the first place!” 

R. J Scherba (Christian Coach)

I came across this quote once while browsing the internet and thought it was hilarious. The writer meant for it to be a twisted interpretation of Matthew 5:11 but unfortunately, it’s also quite true.

No not the “Jesus said” part, because that’s not what he said but sadly it seems that we have come to believe that over commitment and exhaustion is a sign of how committed we are to God.

Somehow in the Christian life, busy has become equated to spiritual and a sign of commitment. Church attendance and involvement has become the measuring stick of the depth of our relationship with God.

We’ve come to believe that we need to say “Yes” to everything related to God because it is good, however the fact that something is “good” should not be the only measuring stick we use to determine whether we should say yes to it.

While it’s good to say yes to God, we have to be careful that we’re saying yes to the correct things, the things that line up with our purpose and the season we are in.

If we fail to do this we could find ourselves being very, very busy with little to show for it except for frustration, tiredness, overwhelm and burnout… and that helps no one. 

I used to be very guilty of this. I love to help people and would often say yes before I really thought through the consequences of my “yes”.

More often than not I’d forget to consider how the thing that I had agreed to might affect my family or whether I could complete what was needed in a timely and effective manner given everything else I had going on.

We often feel guilty when we say no because we think that we’re letting someone down or that it might cause us to miss out on something that God has for us.

If saying yes means that we’re not obeying what God wants us to do in that season then all our work will be for naught. 

At the end of the day we might have spent time doing something “good” but it may not have been something that contributes to God’s plan and purpose for your life.

The church is a body and a body functions optimally when each part of the body is doing its own job, not someone else’s. 

That’s not to say that we can’t take part in helping someone else do their job but I’ve realized that when we focus on fulfilling our own purpose it more often than not assists others with theirs. That’s just the way a body works. 

So before you say your next “Yes”, here are 5 questions you need to ask to determine whether that “yes” lines up with your calling in the current season. 

Will I be making good use of my time?

Before saying yes to that next ministry opportunity or volunteer request, you need to ask your self if it will be a good use of your time.

You might consider that anything you do for God IS a good use of your time but truly somethings are better.

For example, if you spend your time helping someone out but neglecting a key area in your life that’s important to God’s purpose for you, then you are not making good use of your time. 

This is why it’s important to have a vision for your life so that you can prioritize the things that line up with that vision. 

To determine if what you are being asked to is good for you, you need to see if it really lines up with what God is calling you to do in your current season. 

Ephesians 5:16-17 tells us that we should use our time wisely and try to understand what the will of the Lord is. 

Is what you’re saying yes to lining up with God’s vision for you on this earth or will it take precious time away from the things you really need to be doing for Him? 

Remember that saying no to something that you’re not called to do means that you’re more able to say yes to the things related to your calling.

Can You Fulfill What is Being Asked in an Effective Manner?

Consider your current commitments and whether saying yes will increase this burden to a level that you are not able to handle. Can you effectively do what you are being asked to do given what you currently have going on in your life? 

If you say yes but are unable to effectively do what you have been asked to do because of everything else you have going on, it will look particularly bad on you.

You might look very busy on the outside but if you’re not contributing in an effective way to the things you’ve signed up for you’re only wasting time.

 Overcommitment leads to resentment, frustration and eventually burn out and you come to a place where you eventually don’t want to do ANYTHING at all as opposed to trying to do EVERYTHING. 

It’s better to be effective than busy. You will have to say no to some things in order to remain effective in the things that you are truly called to do.

How will it Affect Your Personal Time?

Will saying yes infringe on personal or family time? Granted there will be some times when it may be necessary to cancel or reschedule a family event to answer when God is calling. 

Personally, I think these times should be few and far between and only if the activity lines up with your purpose (see point one). 

If you find yourself canceling or rescheduling family commitments too often you may need to reevaluate why you’re saying yes. 

Also, consider how saying yes will affect your personal time including things like exercise time and rest time.

Many times we give up these times because we figure that what we’re saying yes to is for God and He appreciates it.

Truly God loves you and He appreciates everything you do, but He also wants you to be healthy.

Getting exercise and adequate rest helps to ensure that you stay healthy enough to stick around on this earth long enough to do everything that He has sent you to do.

Is Your Yes Yes and Your No No?

It’s better to give an honest no that to say yes when your heart really isn’t in it. Matt 5:37 says we should let our yes be yes and our no be no.

You might feel obligated to say yes, especially when you are encouraged to make a sacrifice.

Very often the person suggesting that you make a sacrifice this isn’t aware of all the other sacrifices you’ve been making “for God”. 

In any case, 1 Samuel 15:22, a verse we all know so well in Christiandom says that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. 

You need to determine if you are saying yes as an act of obedience to what God is calling you to do or if you are saying yes out of obligation.

A coerced yes(intentional or not) could eventually lead to bitterness and resentment towards the obligation.

Make sure that when you say yes that your heart is really in it so that you can do what you’re being asked to do as though you’re doing it for God (because you are).

What’s Your Motive?

Examine the reasons why you want to say yes. Is it because you feel obligated to do so? Is it because you think it will make you look like a “good” committed Christian? 

Or even because you think you will be missing out on something if you don’t say yes? Sometimes saying yes may not be verbal but it could look like attending every church event, weekly class or conference.

Often ministry leaders will make a call to the general congregation to participate in their particular ministry. Usually, these calls are heard by the same people, the faithful few and we often feel obligated to be supportive. 

What ends up happening is that we try to participate in every ministry because we feel obligated and this is just not possible. 

I can recall a time when I used to do this. I thought that I had to be at church every time the doors opened or I would miss something.

All it did was wear me out and sadly, eventually to the point where I was too tired to spend any quality alone time with the Lord.

It sure looked good on the outside but my personal relationship with the Lord was suffering.

I eventually came to understand that some of this was trying to please “man” in an attempt to look like the most committed Christian EVER and also because somewhere inside I thought I had to perform to please God. 

You do not have to perform to please God. He already loves you, He’s already pleased with you (when He created you (man) he said it was good).

You only need to be obedient and do what He’s called you to do.

Again, this is why it’s important to define your vision for your life according to God’s plans for you so that you know what you should be participating in and what you shouldn’t be participating in. 

In order to effectively fulfill your purpose on this earth, you are going to have to be very careful of what you say yes to. I don’t think busyness will count for much with God if you leave this earth with your job left undone. 

I challenge you to take a look at your life today and see if there are any areas where you can make your “Yeses” (and by extension you “Nos”) count for more.

Set boundaries, say no to the things that aren’t part of God’s vision for you so that you can yes to the things that are.

Book suggestion: If you want to find out more on how to set healthy boundaries so that you are able to say yes to the things that count check out the book: Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life – By Henry Cloud and John Townsend

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