Making Vows To God
We are in a covenant relationship with God, by His amazing grace and through faith in Jesus Christ. Vows are essential in a personal covenant relationship. So why are we so hesitant to make promises to God? He has certainly made a lot of promises to us! And He is faithful to keep His Word to us. His Word instructs us on making vows. We become more like Him when we make a promise and keep our word. Psalm 119, the longest prayer in the Bible, is full of vows.
What was the last promise you made to God? Do you pray your promises? Are they built upon God’s will?
Some may point to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:33-37) on what Jesus said about no longer taking an oath (making a “false vow”). Jesus did not abolish the Law, He is fulfilled it. He teaches in the SM that your vow (promise) does not need an oath to strength it. Your word (based on His) is all the strength you need. The Pharisees had various oaths to strengthen their promises; some oaths gave them options for not keeping their vows. It was oath-bureaucracy of the worst order. Jesus made promises to God in His prayers (John 17:26) and taught us to in the model prayer (Luke 11:4).
The main reason we balk at making a promise to God is that we fear we will not be able to fulfill it. That fear is based on a hesitation to fully depend upon God for the fulfillment. We just don’t want to trust God that much.
The first step in developing a vow is to make sure it lines up with the will (promise) of God. Beware of making vows upon a different foundation other than the will of God. When you examine the vow in the model prayer and in Jesus’ prayer and the many vows in Psalm 119 you find that each one is according to the will of God. Once your promise is based upon the sure foundation of God’s will, the next step is to pray like your life depends upon it, because it does! Pray your promises to God! Each day, pray your promises to God. This is the stuff that God creates faithfulness in you with; your dependence upon Him for the vows you have made to Him.
Another reason people are slow to commit, hesitant to put themselves under a promise, is that it closes all other option doors. When a man and a woman stand before a pastor at their wedding ceremony they are closing all other option doors on dating other people for the rest of their lives!
But we like options. This is the reason people do not want to get married (make a commitment before God to one person). Someday they may want out. They want the option of changing their mind. Who is the main focus in that picture? Self is. This is the basis of idolatry; I stay in control of what I worship. I make the rules, I build it, I set it up, I drive it, I enjoy being in control, I keep the key.
This was at the heart of the first temptation and sin…you can be your own authority and determine for yourself what is right and wrong. But a promise becomes a law in my life that I place myself under it. When it is based upon God’s will, I am under His authority and will.
God’s laws express His love for us. My obedience to His laws expresses my love for Him. In this love relationship with God, I experience Life with God and my life is enriched, provided for by God, protected by Him, and blessed with peace that passes all understanding.
Pray about making some promises to God. Like Job (31:1-2), make a covenant with your eyes. Like Malachi (3:10-12), promise to give all of the tithe to God. Like James (1:19-22), promise to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Become a faithful witness like Jesus said we were to be (Acts 1:8). Add some vows to your prayer list and watch what God can do in you, with you, through you, as you, before the watching world around you.