4 May 2012


Submitted by theshovel
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Jim, When I was a young Christian in college. I was all psyched up to work in video production and TV. I remember praying and made a vow telling the Lord that I would work in Christian TV as a volunteer for the rest of my life. After school I spent 3.5 years of my life working as a full time volunteer for a Christian ministry that turned out to be the some of the most miserable years of my life. After much frustration and anger I finally gave notice and left. Thirty years later I am back volunteering full time for the same ministry simply because God has not opened any other door. However, my wife and I are ready to move on. I struggle with the issue of promising the Lord to work as a full time volunteer. I can't honestly say that I made that vow out of a heart of faith. I certainly regret it now as it clouds my decision making for the future. I also remember the Lord saying that we should not make vows, since we are unable to keep them...but I still feel obligated to mine, since I read so many scriptures that seem to talk about keeping one's vows. Am I just laboring needlessly under the law in this area of my life? I believe I should exercise my freedom and just do what I want to do and forgive myself for making a vow that I can't really keep with a whole a heart of joy and faith. What do you advise? Cris

Hello my friend Cris! At one time (while I was in Bible college), I would have told you to keep those old vows to the Lord ... however, I have come to see, just as you have also been considering, that we made those vows under some often heavy compulsion. Yes, we made those vows as if we were under the Law. The funny thing is, we assumed that God was as psyched as we were about those vows. I discovered the same true freedom found in the passage about making vows, where it stated that it is better to not make a vow than to make one and then break it. And yes, Jesus reiterated the same truth when he spoke of not making vows at all. I am convinced that God is glad to see us get out from under the bondage of Law ... including those laws we made for ourselves. We don't need no stinking vows, for we have true life in Christ. So, I suggest that you do way more than just forgive yourself for making a vow that was not made with a whole heart, I suggest that you let HIS vow of conforming you to the image of his son blow those old fleshly vows out of the water!! It is for freedom that we have been set free. Jim

When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised. Deuteronomy 23:21-23

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. Matthew 5:33-37

I'm adding some thoughts to what I wrote above. In other words, this was not part of the original reply.

Listen to the simplicity as Jesus cut to the chase regarding the reason behind oaths or vows in the first place. The reason? Because there is no real harmony between man's words and his intentions. People believe their words really have the power to bring their claims to fruition, and yet as Jesus said, a person cannot make one insignificant thing happen simply by speaking it. In truth, the vow, for man, is all about creating some wiggle room. In other words, men love to make promises and then later claim that there were valid reasons for not keeping it. The bottom line is that people will say whatever needs to be said to get something in return. The reason Jesus told them to not even make vows at all was not to go against the Law but to uncover the sneakiness of man (for the Law is not bad, but good). It does not take any special revelation to understand that if people were to simply mean what they said ('Yes, yes' or 'No, no') there would be no reason for a vow ... for it is common knowledge that a vow is meant to hold a man to his word, in case he later decide to break it. And even then, through the accumulation of lawyers and new rulings, people have discovered that they can easily lose what is owed them, or end up owing what they never agreed to. This is the result of the mind of man as he twists the Law to his own benefit. Now, I know there are many who have set Jesus' words up as some kind of new covenant command, but this is a total perversion of what he meant. I'm not saying that we should not do what we say, I'm saying that the truth behind what Jesus said is found within the grace of God that was to come through his own body and blood. For he was in the process of bringing about the new creation in himself. We have difficulty with all this because we are caught up in the failure of the flesh, which we keep alive by living as if we are still under Law. It's past time we discovered the truth about who we are and what we are truly about.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17


weird … i just found this!  yet i was just replying earlier today to the addition to this Q&A, not realizing it was an addition to an earlier Q&A back in May!  lol 

i totally missed that earlier Q&A back in May.confused  nevertheless, the subject matter is exactly the kind of thing that i was thinking about this morning!   big smile

this is a great Q&A!  i think it concerns another great big bondage in the world!  especially a big dark  hole in the hearts and minds of those in Christ who have been duped, manipulated, deceived and damaged by the lies of the evil one who desires nothing more than to rob us and destroy us.  thank GOD that we are set free in Christ from such bondage to live according to the various rules the world sets for itself!  we are free in Him to do as Love within us compels us to do for Him, for others and for ourselves.  we have been set free from any need to fulfill such vows and promises made in religious ignorance and superstition … compelled on by nothing more/nothing less than fear, guilt and shame. 

it is simply not worth the ache and pain to our hearts and minds, nor all the energy lost.  we can move onward with our lives in all assurance and confidence that He holds no such expectations of keeping such vows and promises over our heads.  it was never His expectation or requirement of us.

thank you for this Q&A!  thank you so much for your question and sharing your concerns, cris!  :)

theshovel's picture

Actually, you had not missed seeing this post, as even though it is dated as being posted in May, the date represents the original communication and not the time that I had added it. I forget to post my Q&As when I respond to them, and I'm just getting caught up. Yeah, I just added it on the same day as the other post.  lol  The addition is something I added as I was posting it. And then I realized that I wanted what I had added to not get missed ... and so I also posted it on the front page.

Anyhow, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to this posting. Yes, it is another trap in this world! Many get themselves caught up ... and often out of very well-meaning intentions.

Jim :)

' For he was in the process of bringing about the new creation in himself. We have difficulty with all this because we are caught up in the failure of the flesh, which we keep alive by living as if we are still under Law. It's past time we discovered the truth about who we are and what we are truly about.'-Jim




My wise brother, I just love this quote here! We really DO keep that illusion going[the failures of the thing we are no longer-it's desires]when we submit to “don't taste, don't touch'…'be moral, don't do this..that'.-Instead of realizing just who we are. However, I found that this can take time to realize who we are and what it means-and that Christ labors over us in forming in us what is true about us. It's like He starts and then perfects our faith even while the enemy tries to combat Him. I don't have this all down, I am just coming from the place as clearly as I can see it now.


Love, A

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