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Little Nos Make Way For the Big Yes

Saying YES to marriage always requires one to say several NOs. In order to marry my husband, I said “no” to every other man in the world (not that anyone else was asking…but you know, theoretically).  I left a job in which I was thriving and growing.  I left the fun of living with my girlfriends (and the extended wardrobe I enjoyed by sharing closets).  I left my mom and dad to confide in, financially partner with, and rely on my husband.
But eight years into our marriage the thought of all I gave up to say “yes” to him never occupies my mind.  Barrett is home to me now.  The benefits of his friendship, his partnership in ministry, his laughter, his parenting skills, his provision for our family, and his service to me so far outweigh any sacrifice I’ve made in becoming his wife.  Saying “no” to my single life has paved the way for blessings beyond what I could have even imagined as I receive the “yes” of Barrett’s love.
Though not a popular topic, the reality is that following Christ is costly.  The examples of discipleship found in the Scriptures display great sacrifice.  Fishermen drop their nets and tax collectors leave their profession to follow Jesus. In one of the most poignant examples of the costly call to discipleship, Jesus asks the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor.  Clearly this request is not primarily about the man’s money; it’s about his heart.  The point is not that Jesus asks for all of his things. It is rather that Jesus asks for the ONE thing in which he found his security.  In perhaps one of the most tragic moments in the Bible, instead of drawing near to Jesus, the young man walks away from Him sorrowful.
This scene is so troubling because the young man has no idea that Jesus lovingly commands him to relinquish all his possessions (see Mark 10:21).  The man whose hands were full of earthly riches has no concept of what it would mean to taste of the treasures of heaven Jesus promises in return.  And he doesn’t stick around long enough to hear Jesus say just a few verses later, “There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this life…and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
Just as it would be ridiculous for a young bride-to-be to focus solely on all that she is required to give up to marry her handsome fiancé, the “nos” we say out of obedience to Christ pale in comparison to the gifts our Heavenly Bridegroom gives us in return.  Undoubtedly, following Christ is costly.  It has to be … because the call to take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34) pries our hands free of lesser loves that will only bring us destruction.  We must empty our hands that God might fill them with spiritual blessing beyond measure that brings life and wholeness and joy.
So keep your little “nos” in perspective.  They may be painful, but they’re making way for the big “yes” of God’s good gifts to flow into your life.
Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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