Until recently I never thought of the value of making a vow. The only one I seriously made was when I married. I promised many things in our wedding ceremony. The two I have been faithful to keep are to love and honor my husband. The obey part has been rather off and on. If I agreed with his decisions it was easy. The disharmony that erupted when I did not agree wasn’t worth having my way. For peace and because the Lord appointed the husband as head of the wife I yield final decisions to my him. The best thing that has come from all this is that my husband listens and honors my opinion. (I can honestly say that it usually turns out that he is correct about the problem.)
An old preacher, A.W. Tozer, helped me understand the importance of making and keeping vows to the Lord. He wrote five vows that if we keep will give us new power, life, joy, and personal renewal. Everyone strives for these results but they are gained from our Creator.
The lives of great men and women in the Bible were directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges. King David wrote, “I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you” (Psalm 56:12.).
Vows help us realize the power that flows from the throne where our Lord Jesus is now sitting next to our Father.
The first vow is: Deal Thoroughly With Sin. No one can live a perfect life or keep their vows perfectly. When we fail we should confess our sin to the Lord. He promises that if we “confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). Every sin must be identified, named and confessed with our sins covered by the Blood. With our sin cleanses by Jesus’ blood our conscious will be clear and we have boldness in approaching God.
Feelings of guilt do not generally require a counselor or psychologist. Everyone has done wrong and is guilty. It is not a “guilt complex.” Guilt is real in everyone’s life. Telling a counselor about our problems may bring a little relief – we “get it off our chest” - but we are still guilty and know it. The only real soul “soap” is the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He makes us clean inside and out. Then acceptable to God and ourselves.
The second vow is Never Own Anything. Not that we can not have and use our “things,” but get rid of the sense of possessing them. Our second child was an adorable little girl. In our family she was born last but everything was “Mine!” even her brother’s toys. She out grew this and we can too.
When we leave this world we leave everything here. When Job’s children were killed by a tornado and all his possessions stolen he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” We would do well to adopt Job’s attitude about our possessions.
Since everything we own belongs to the Lord and we will leave it all, our attitude should be “I own nothing. The Lord has loaned it to me and one day I will leave it, and He will give it to someone else.” This cuts the ball and chain affect of possessions, and frees us to enjoy our possessions without them possessing us. They are love gifts from the Lord that we give thanks for.
The third vow is Never Defend Yourself. Self-defense is built into us and that is good if used rightly. We must use common sense to keep out of trouble and completely depend upon the Lord as our Defender. If we insist on standing up for our rights and defending our self we will always be in a fight with someone. God will defend us if we turn the defense of our life over to Him. “I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (Ex. 23:27). It is “my rights” that we should not fight for. The Lord will protect us if we depend upon Him.
Remember Job in the Bible? Satan had to ask God’s permission before he caused all Job’s trouble.
Everyone wants a good reputation and that desire keeps us out of a lot of trouble. In the long run it comes form the Lord, not building our self up. Unless we are trusting God to defend us, “poor me” must work hard to defend its self. God’s promise is that “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment” (Isa. 54:17). That is comforting and trustworthy!
There was a great Christian man years ago who wanted to know the Lord better. During his time of seeking a closer walk with the Lord some people started telling lies about him. That hurt. One day he watched a dog playing with a mat out on the lawn. The dog threw the mat over his back, picked it up and tossed it again obviously enjoying his play. The Lord spoke to the persecuted man and said, “That mat is your reputation, and I am letting the dogs of sin tear your reputation to shreds and toss it all over the lawn for your own good. One of these days things will change.” This gave him new hope and courage to trust the Lord. It wasn’t long before the people who were trying to ruin him were confounded, and he rose to a place of power and great blessing.
The fourth vow is Never Pass On Gossip. Gossip is never honored. When we point out people’s faults and failures we hurt our self as well as our victim. The Lord tells us to confess OUR sins, not anyone else. If we know of a person’s failure then dig a hole and bury it. Don’t dig it up when you have an opportunity to pass it on! “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you”(Matt. 7:1).
The next vow is Never Accept Praise and Glory. Don’t get silly here and say “Aw, shucks. It was nothing.” God is the only one who deserves glory, honor and power. He is jealous of His glory and will not give it to another person. Also, He will not share His glory. Some Christians wish to serve the Lord but want everyone to know about their good work. Seeking a good reputation in the church or the world is a big no/no. Our Lord gave up His reputation and so must we. We can trust Him to protect ours.
It has been said that anybody who serves the Lord for what little bit of glory he receives out of it is like the merchants in the temple. Jesus chased them out with a whip. The Lord alone is worthy of receiving honor, power, and glory.
These vows are not easy. They go against the grain of the way the world lives. Remember this world will one day be burned to a crisp and a new one created. We can’t take anything with us when we leave earth, but we can send it on ahead. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:20,21). These vows cut out the old “grab and hold” that spoils our personality. They also bring the cross into our life. A cross is an instrument of death. Die to yourself interest and enthrone the Almighty Lord in your heart, Then you will be blessed indeed.
Making vows is serious business. “But if make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin” (Deut. 23:21).
Prayer: Father, these five vows are promises I make to you. In myself I don’t have to power to keep them so I ask for grace to be faithful. Praise that it is you who work in me to will and do your good pleasure. I do want to please you but can’t do it unless you enable me. Then you will certainly receive all the credit. I know that without you I can do nothing, but with you I can do all things. I will watch to see you motivating me to remember and keep my vows.
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