“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37
In the weeks leading up to Christmas some people engage in the preparation of wish lists. Depending upon tradition or belief some will give these lists to their parents and others will mail them off to the North Pole.
In the days following Christmas some people also engage in the creating of another type of list; that of the New Years resolution variety.
I’ll be honest, I can’t remember ever involving myself in making either kind of list.
I never made the first kind for two reasons. First, because I’ve never believed in Santa Claus. He’s always just been a fairy tale character in fun holiday stories to me. Second, my parents always tried to teach us to not focus so much on getting a lot of stuff for Christmas. In fact, growing up most gifts we got were practical or educational in nature: clothes, tools, and books. Christmas was more about spending time with family than it was about getting a lot of gifts.
I can’t remember making New Years resolutions either largely because if a change needs to be made I try and make that change regardless of the time of the year. But there’s another reason I avoid resolutions. Resolutions are, for the most part, self change efforts and I’ve found that I’m powerless to change myself.
The only way change has ever happened in my life has been because I let Jesus have the time and space he needed to change me.
In John chapter 15 Jesus tells us that we need to abide in him just like a branch abides in the vine. Alone we can’t do anything but if we abide in him anything is possible.
Our focus text also steers us always from the practice of making pledges, vows, or resolutions. Instead just say yes or no. And when it comes to life change the only yes that’s worth anything is when we say yes to having Jesus live in our hearts.