The Vows We Make

We all make vows—to God, to others and even to ourselves. The ones to God and others are obvious. We vow to follow Jesus Christ. We vow to remain faithful to a spouse. We don’t always keep these vows, but we know we made them. The vows we make to ourselves can be trickier.

Some of the vows we make to ourselves are fairly casual and we break them when circumstances warrant it.

“I will never eat another dessert.”
“I will never fly in another airplane.”
“I will never ever use a dating service again.”

But there are some vows we remain staunchly faithful to, even if we don’t consciously remember making them. These are the vows we make when we have finally had enough pain.

“I will never give my heart to another person again.”
“I will never be in a position to be hurt like this again.”
“Nobody is trustworthy. I have to rely on myself.”

Perfectly understandable. Learning from a painful incident is a good thing. But these kind of vows come with significant costs. The biggest cost? They guarantee a superficial relationship with God.

Scripture tells us that our relationships with other people reflect our relationship with the Lord. If you love others deeply from the heart, you know and love Jesus. If you hate someone, you love Jesus much less than you thought (1 John 2:9-10).

So, if you have resolved to never give your heart to another person, you can bet that you are cautious in your relationship with the Lord too. You don’t trust him. You determined long ago that in vital matters, where there is a high probability for pain, you will trust in yourself. But the problem is, those vital matters arise just about once a minute.

Makes sense doesn’t it? There is always more going on in our relationship with the Lord than we realize. We make a vow, think it has nothing to do with the Lord, then years later we discover that a vital relationship with Christ stopped the day we made the vow.

Think of it this way. When you make a vow to yourself you have invented a new religion. You joined a new church that has its own laws. God is not in this church, though you occasionally visit his place of worship because you are, for the most part, on neighborly terms as long as he stays on his side of the fence.

Are there any vows you have made to yourself? I am especially thinking about ones that arose from painful circumstances. What would it take to shutter your “church” of one?