When you start reading God’s Word be careful. It is sharper than a two-edged sword and will cut straight to the point sometimes. During my time with God this week I came across this verse:
“When you make a vow to God don’t delay fulfilling it, because He does not delight in fools. Fulfill what you vow.”Ecclesiastes 5:4 (HCSB)
Ouch! This verse jumped right off the page when I read it. In our day of politically correct speech and platitudes, sometimes Scripture stands so stark in contrast because it speaks with such authority. If you really want to be challenged, ask yourself, “What have I promised the Lord?” My time? My tithe? Lest I dare to tread here, my holiness?
We are now over halfway through 2012. Think back to January. Did you promise the Lord that this year it would be different? That this year you would spend time daily in His Word and in prayer-that this year you would be more faithful in Sunday School and worship? How have you been doing in keeping your vow?
Maybe you made a promise that you would do better in giving your tithe to the Lord this year. As your pastor I’m praising God that for the first time in over a year we met our budget giving goal! Were God’s people giving their tithe, there would not be a month that went by that we didn’t meet our goal. How have you been doing in keeping your vow?
It’s easy, however, to talk about spending time with God. It’s really easy to talk about giving. It’s really hard when we turn our attention to matters of personal holiness. While we will always battle temptation so long as we live in these fallen vessels Paul liked to call “the flesh,” we have been called to live holy lives. This means that we must strive against sin in our lives. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you have been redeemed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to stand. Too many times, however, we run up the white flag of defeat when it comes to sin and let the Enemy win. If you have broken a vow in regards to a matter of personal holiness, confess it, repent, and quit living in defeat.
The best part of this particular verse in Ecclesiastes is that we are challenged to a sense of urgency in keeping our vow to the Lord. Let’s not delay! Let’s fulfill it! Sometimes I’ve gone to the mailbox and found a dreaded bill. I’ve tricked myself before in thinking that as long as I didn’t open it that it wasn’t real. I would let it sit there on the counter. You can live in fear and defeat-but how much better is to pick it up, deal with it, and move on!
My father used to tell me,
“Say what you mean and mean what you say”
While that may sound like a great saying. What did he mean by that? I believe that he meant that we should not just talk a good game when it comes to our faith-but we need to back it up by our actions. When we make a commitment to the Lord we need to keep our commitments. We can do it with the Lord’s strength-may we not delay!