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Book of James: Study 11 -- Let Your 'Yes' be Yes and 'No' No

By Fiona Soltes | Freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. | March 19 2010

This is the 11th of 13 sessions looking at selected passages from the Book of James. Click here to read the introduction and for an overview.

Click here to see the 10th session.

Session 11

So much in this world is wishy-washy. We put off making decisions while waiting for a better offer; we find ourselves wary of giving an opinion lest the opposing side be offended; or we commit and then double-book depending on the latest status.

It's exhausting.

In our hectic society, it's almost as if we are incapable of focusing on one thing long enough to give it serious attention and consideration before we say accept or decline. It seems this is a real opportunity for Christians to stand out from everyone else. The Book of James calls us to let our "Yes" be yes and our "No" be no. That means when we say we'll do something -- even casually -- it's a settled matter. People should be able to depend on us.

Sure, things come up; but consider this: If God sees the end from the beginning and knows what will happen before it actually does, then it makes sense He should be able to help us make decisions in advance, too. We always can come to Him in prayer, seeking His wisdom and guidance and trusting that if He gives us direction, He's already considered what future roadblocks will be in our path.

There is, however, something else to keep in mind. When the world's eyes are upon us and we believe we are making decisions based on God's direction, then it's essential that we follow through to the end. If God leads in one direction, we must endeavor to go there, no matter what else happens until He leads us in another.

Sometimes when we make a commitment and set out on a new journey, we tell ourselves we'll follow the path as long as it "feels" right. God, however, rarely leads us by our feelings. It is those times when we're marching on without feeling Him anywhere that allow our faith to grow.

There's much to be said for being a person of integrity and doing what you say you're going to do. There's even more to be said, however, for being a person who carefully considers decisions with God's input and sticks to those decisions once they're made. God is, after all, the same yesterday, today and forever. If we are to be like Him, we must show ourselves faithful and dependable, as well.       

What the Word Says:

"Let your 'Yes' be your yes and your 'No,' no, or you will be condemned" (James 5:12).

How It Applies: 

God freely offers us wisdom and guidance for our lives. As such, we have the ability to receive His input in making decisions. When we do, we can make commitments with confidence, knowing that He has already seen what future roadblocks may arise.

Questions for Group Discussion:

• On a scale of 1-10, how dependable do you think others would say you are?

• Is it difficult for you to make and stick to decisions? If so, why?

• In what ways might God help you make a decision?

• How do you think your ability to do what you say you're going to do affects your witness?

• Discuss a time when you made a decision that you believed was God-led. How how did that decision turn out?

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