Here’s My YES!

Here’s My YES!

As Valentine’s Day approaches every year I get excited. I have an incredible wife of eight years whom I love dearly. But, there is also another reason I get excited about February 14th. On this day in 2003 the Lord began a transforming work in me that I have a hard time even comprehending. On that day he got my “yes.”

As a young man, even as a Christian, I became discontented with the church and lost sight of the gospel. My heart grew cold and I persistently gave Jesus my “no.” I was entirely stiff-necked and unyielding. I set my mind to head in the opposite direction God was leading. I decided that I would fight against his wooing and drawing more than any man alive. I thought I was tough. I thought I was strong. But, he was always there….no matter where I went….seeking, wooing, and patiently waiting. The knowledge of his love was inescapable. But, I stumbled along for five long years. I tried to escape into drugs and other sinful pursuits which left me utterly miserable, empty, and powerless. Sin never delivers what it promises. I thought one day I would be too messed up and he would quit his pursuit of me. Luckily, he never gave up. He never quit.

Then, came Valentine’s Day and suddenly the thought of saying yes entered my mind. A close friend reminded me of the graciousness of our mighty God. And, I simply said yes. God turned my heart and I said YES! After church that Sunday I felt incredibly light and free. Jesus took all the heavy burden of the unconfessed sin I had built up over the past five years and threw it as far as the east is from the west. In an instant it was gone. I floated out of the church overwhelmed and completely enveloped in the awesome and abundant grace of God who never, ever abandons his own children to the awful, deadly power of sin. I thought my battle with sin was over….I did say yes…right?

I was naïve and had much to learn about the gospel. I had no idea the war that awaited me. Paul’s words are true in Romans 7:22, 23. “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” This is a war. No, I am serious this is a WAR. I carry the enemy with me everywhere I go because he is me. I have kept pressing on, only because of his grace and forgiveness, only because he died for me. I have won some battles and lost some. The one thing that remains constant is a relentless God who has promised my transformation through the gospel in the context of his church.   

I think about Isaiah seeing this incredible vision of the Lord on his throne, high, and lifted up (Isaiah 6). Maybe this was the first time Isaiah really began to understand the vastness of the gap between God’s majestic holiness and his own wretched sinfulness. We all say with him, “Woe is me!” Then, the Lord showed his mercy and grace to Isaiah. The seraphim touched his lips with the burning coal and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6: 7).

At this point Isaiah probably felt light as air like I did eleven years ago. The power of the gospel triumphs over every single sin and frees the most dreadful of sinners. Grace super-abounds to those God has called out of darkness into marvelous light. God in his amazing grace declares us FORGIVEN based on the atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross. How can we not rejoice? How can we not, then, proclaim his excellence? How can we not cry out with Isaiah, “Here am I send me?” His gospel made visible through his church is absolutely worth every single “yes.” This war all believers are engaged in is entirely worth the fight because he is worth it. He gave his life so that we might be free. My “yes” was only made possible by the death of God’s precious Son.

I am very grateful for the last year of serving Open Door through Generation-LINK. I am a different man today than I was a year ago. I am more equipped and ready to give my life for him and his church than ever before. I am ready and willing to go wherever he leads. There is no better place to invest my life than in his church. GLINK has provided me with the on the job training that has given me the confidence and faith in God that he can take a guy like me and use me to build his church.

So, who has your “yes” today? Whether you are wrestling with an issue of forgiveness, repentance, church commitment, missions, church planting, a ministry project, or whatever else he desires for you will you pray this prayer with me and just let God work out the details. I trust that he will.    

Lord Jesus, here is my “yes.” It is yours I don’t want it any longer. Please help me to give it to you every single day. When I take it back from you please graciously discipline me so it will return to its rightful owner. Please take it and do with it as you wish. You are worth it and I trust you. Wherever you lead I’ll go. I can do nothing else. My answer is YES!

Only by his grace,

Paul Whitfield