It is a snare to say rashly, “it is holy,”
and to reflect only after making vows.
Be cautious in making vows. Be cautious saying that you will set something apart for God, which is what saying “it is holy” means. Be cautious because God takes seriously your word. He will hold you accountable for what you say.
Because we are only as good as our word, our words should be carefully chosen and few in number. Making a vow requires the following:
It requires humility. We too often make vows out of pride. We overestimate our ability and determination. Like Peter, we are quick to vow allegiance when we really need to be pleading for mercy.
It requires discernment. We should be able to count the cost accurately and our assets accurately before committing.
It requires a calm spirit. Again, vows are often made in the heat of the moment, in being caught up in emotion. We are more likely to carry through what we decide to do while calm.
It requires leaning upon God’s Spirit. We can only fulfill what the Spirit gives us the wisdom and strength to do. We should only carry out what we know the Spirit is leading us to do. We can do nothing of ourselves; we can do all things through the Spirit of Christ.
Finally, we are to rest and find our hope in the vow our Lord made for us – to be our sacrifice, to assure for us the salvation to which we were elected. Our hope rests not in the seriousness by which we have made our vow to God to surrender everything to him, but in Christ’s vow to surrender everything. He carried out his vow and will continue to carry out his promise to safeguard us until the day of his coming.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org