Whether you know it or not, we all operate with a bigger Yes deep down in our mind and heart. Your bigger Yes is that which guides you as you make crazy difficult decisions and then it also pacifies you when your decisions lead to suffering, loss or inconvenience. Affliction has a way of revealing our bigger Yes.
What’s your bigger Yes? What would be so important that you’d go to jail for it? And, once there, what’s so important that you’d find yourself singing praises to God? I’ve been to several jails over the years (visiting inmates or touring the facility), and I can attest that it’s not an environment where one would expect inmates busting out hymns of praise.
Paul had been arrested in Philippi, which was a Roman colony full of ex-military who were known for their nationalistic patriotism. As such, the locals were not enthusiastic about Paul’s tendency to call Jesus’ “Lord” since Roman law demanded that Caesar was “Lord.” So, he and Silas were thrown into the inner prison. One night, around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing. And the texts tells us, “the prisoners were listening to them.” Yeah, I bet they were. They’d never heard anything like that before! Note it doesn’t’ say they were watching, because the prisoners were in the “inner prison” where it was dark.
So, why did they do it? It had to do with their bigger Yes.
In Philippians, Paul points to Jesus as his bigger Yes. Jesus was the perfect example of living according to the ultimate bigger Yes: pleasing the Father. Paul tells the church at Philippi;
Jesus wasn’t afraid to suffer, so you shouldn't be afraid of suffer (1:12-26). He, not comfort, is your bigger Yes.
Jesus had the same mind as the Father, so we should have the same mind of Jesus (2:1-5). The mind of Jesus is quick to serve others.
Jesus did everything without grumbling or complaining, so you should do everything without grumbling and complaining (2:12-18).
Jesus put no confidence in the flesh to find righteousness, so we should not seek righteousness through the flesh/law, but through faith in Jesus (3:1-11).
Jesus had a bigger Yes – His was to obey the Father.
One of Paul’s points in Philippians was, as Jesus lived in joyful unity with the Father, we should live in joyful unity with one another.
What’s your bigger Yes?