Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- March 26, 2011
“I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.” Psalm 66:13-14
A promise is a two-edged sword. If the promise is fulfilled, it is beneficial; if left unfulfilled, it is injurious. Especially be cautious about the promises you make in the heat of emotion. Emotions may cause you to say strange things. Cool down, restore a level head, pray and seek counsel, then come back to the table with a practical commitment that has a high probability of follow-though. Indeed, you may need to go back to the one to whom you promised and ask for a reprieve or, at the very least, a modification that is more in-line with your capacity. This requires a good dose of humility and eating of humble pie, but that’s OK. Humility needs to drive promises in the first place.
Pride makes promises for the wrong reasons. Pride-driven promises are for the ego of the one making the promise. Or, a promise can be motivated as a response to guilt and you are trying to make up for lost time. Promises led by humility are prayerfully calculated and made for Christ’s sake. Follow-through separates great people from good people, wise people from foolish people, professional people from unprofessional people and mature people from immature people.
A promise made to God is the most grave—this is a vow. A vow to God is an earnest promise to believe certain things or behave in a defined way. You may enter into a vow of poverty, a vow to abstain from sex outside of marriage, a vow to avoid alcohol and drugs, or a vow to run your business on biblical principles. It should go without saying that vows to God should not be made lightly. He remembers. There is no need for a written contract for His sake (maybe yours).
It is easier to start the Christian life than it is to follow through in living the Christian life. Your salvation was a relief. You were rescued from yourself, sin, Satan and hell. Now it is time to work out your faith. There is follow-through needed to fulfill your vow with God. When we promised to follow Jesus, it meant we would follow wherever He led. We would trust Him regardless of the circumstances or challenges.
By the way, our marriage vows are not only a commitment to each other, but they are a promise to God. When there is marriage turmoil, you stick together because of your promise to God, each other and the Christian community. It is a matter of follow-through. Our promises to God are for our benefit. Remember what you told God you would do if He did something in particular for you. Follow up on this and then follow through. The integrity of our word starts with God. When we do what we promised God, then it will be easier to follow through with our promises to people. Make fewer prayerful promises and by God’s grace always follow through!
Taken from Dose 48 in the 90-day devotional book Infusion.
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