Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows.
Vows, promises, and commitments are not well honored in these days of non-committal attitudes. Pay off my debt. Why? Just declare personal bankruptcy and start spending what we don't have all over again. Breaking a business deal, no problem, call a lawyer and make up some subterfuge as to why the contract is being broken.
Divorce, simple, call it quits and blame it on irreconcilable differences to sound fashionable, and we can divvy-up the kids for the weekends. Tell the truth, Bah, what's the point, they will never know they got ripped off. No harm no foul. We all got to look out for number one. Hag. 1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
A lot of our vows and commitment to God and life itself is as reliable as a New Year's Eve resolutions; well-meaning, but absolutely without substance. What we fail to realise is that most of us will find it very difficult to follow through on anything of challenge or hardship without the help of God influencing our fortitude. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
We read in the story of Jonah - the shipmates find out that Jonah is the reason for the gale-force-winds that are about to sink their ship. So, the deck-hands throw Jonah overboard, as instructed, and the storm stops immediately. Jonah 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
The next verse is the one that I find interesting because God does not respond to what is done. Jonah 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. I would go as far as to say, "Made vows that were never honored." Vows, promises, and commitments made in the thick of major fear, anger, and desperation are most often empty promises that end up resulting in useless vows.
I say this because God does not even acknowledge anything about these vows made by the sailors. God prepares a great fish to take Jonah onward to his divine appointment in Nineveh.
There seems to be very little value that God put on these vows made from fearful hearts for self-preservation by these men. We have all heard these vows before. I promise, that was the last time I will get drunk or have a drink, it's the straight and narrow from now on. You can count on it, I will be there on time for you, and if I'm late, well, I'll make it up to you. Honest, the payment is in the mail.
Prov. 21:8 The way of him that is laden with guilt is exceeding crooked; But as for the pure, his work is right. The Lord has a simple solution to all this false elaboration. God says in His word. Matt. 5:37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
When Paul says in Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me, he was also referring to the fact that he had the strength to keep his vows and promises that he made. Paul also made it clear that this ability came through Christ within and his relationship with the Lord.
We have this same Jesus living within our beings. A bit of self-diagnoses is in order and multiple trips to the counselor can be avoided if we would take a lesson from Matt. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Put the spotlight (the word of God) on our own hearts and see the fruit coming out of our lives. If the fruit is good, then praise the Lord. If not, repent. Prov. 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Keeping our vows, promises, and commitments should not be a grievous undertaking. It should be part of our born-again Christian character that is growing from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.