Should a Christian make a vow?
Happy New month everyone. I pray that this month of May brings about Joy, love, happiness and fulfilment in all that you do in Jesus Name. I got good feedback from my last post (Scriptures to help you meditate on God’s unconditional love), if you haven’t checked it out, please do.😊😊
This past Sunday, I stepped out in faith and made a pledge in church when the pastor made a call. A few Sundays ago, the Holy Spirit has laid in my heart to replace the cymbals at church because they were broken. I put this at the back of my mind as a project to embark on eventually. So when the pastor asked us to come forward if the Holy Spirit has instructed us to do something for the house, I knew I just had to step forward. After he prayed for us, I started thinking about how easy it is for us to step forward for pledges and eventually forget to redeem them. This experience is the inspiration for this week's post.
What is a vow? A vow is a solemn promise to do a specific thing. It is not forced or imposed on anyone, it is completely voluntary.
There are different types of vows but I will only focus on the two:
Person to Person: This type of vow exists between two or more people under an oath or pledge to do a particular thing. An example is a marital vow between a man and a woman before God in holy matrimony.
Man to God: This type exists between an individual and God. An example is Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11, She made a vow to God personally to dedicate her child to God if he would open her womb. Another example is Jephthah, he made a vow to God in Judges 11:30 when he was to fight the Ammonites.
Vows through the lens of the Old Testament
Psalm 66:13-14 (NIV) I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you 14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.
The psalmist said he will go into the house of God to pay his vows in other words, he will redeem that which he promised to God in a time of trouble. This highlights that our pledges, covenant and freewill offerings all count as vows before God. It is very important to know that when a word is said or action is done to get God to do something, it is a big deal.
Ecclesiastes 5:2-6 (NIV)" Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?
The above scripture clearly shows us that God does not joke with vows especially because vows are completely voluntary. It is easy for us to make vows when we are in dire need from God. Sometimes we say if only God can give me A, I will repay him with XYZ. These are often "mere words" thrown out in the air because we are desperately in need of something. But, we have to ensure that our vows are not mere words or actions. They carry weight!
Making a vow and not fulfilling it can be likened to drawing God's attention without a purpose. It’s like telling your earthly dad "if you give me a car I will get all A’s in school this year". Your dad is waiting all year for you to bring your all A result so he can show you off to all his friends and maybe give you something bigger. Even if he thinks you don't need a car at the moment, he gives it to you to encourage you to do well academically. How awful will it be to forget about your promise? Very awful right?
Vows through the New Testament
Matthew 5:34 (NLT): But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, 'By heaven!' because heaven is God's throne.
In the verse above, Jesus told us not to make vows because vows are a serious issue. Think about it, why do you have to make a vow before you fulfil your part of a bargain. If you know you don't plan on redeeming the vow, don't make a vow. This is not about looking at your bank account to determine if you should make a pledge or not, it is the posture of your heart that matters.
Unfulfilled vows most times causes delays at the edge of a breakthrough, I have heard about cases where people have been turning in circles in life all because they refused to fulfil a vow they once made. How can we be blessed with so much more when we have not shown diligence in our words? Making a vow is serious business!
Take a minute to stop and reflect on your life. Are there vows that you have made years ago and you have not yet redeemed them? Start making a conscious plan to doing what you promised God. This may be a simple factor currently holding you back from bursting into a new season/level.
Dishonesty in making vows
John 8:44 (NIV): You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Not fulfilling your vows is flat out lying. Let your yes be yes and no be no! You are a child of God, make sure every word that comes out of your mouth is a word of truth. When you make a vow to God redeem it; if you vow to your spouse keep it. There are no maybes or in-betweens or God understands. Be a person of your words! Vows are not to be taken as a joke. You were not forced or compelled to vow, you did it on your own accord. You don't have to make a pledge you don't intend on keeping, it is not by force.
As Christians, let us understand that vows are not something we should be forced to do regardless of however we are being persuaded from the pulpit. Let your yes be yes and no be no. Be led by the spirit and he will bring all things to your remembrance, don't do it because everyone else is doing it.
You are very special to God, he calls you the apple of his eye. He has called us with a greater calling and his love for us has no bounds. All God's promises in Christ are yes and Amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20) When in dire need of something from God, do you really need to vow? You have instant and open access to God all the time because of the sacrifice of Jesus. God always hears our prayers and he answers them according to his will for our life. And we know all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). He has you covered all the time, have faith!
When it comes to church pledges remember that we are not of the world, hence, we should stay clear of dishonesty. Be encouraged to do everything (including pledges) based on the love relationship that was first initiated by God.