Time Will Tell

Are vows are like pie-crusts, meant to be broken? I don’t think so. I have made a vow for the New Year and it is the 700 year old prayer prayed by Richard of Chichester, and it goes like this: “O Lord that I might Love you more dearly, Know you more clearly and Follow you more nearly, day by day by day.”

Having learned a few lesson from scripture and history I am not so naïve as to believe that I shall live up to it but I am certainly going to try. I am very much aware that vows made in a crisis, like foxhole conversions, do not last very long. But this vow is not one I made under any crisis, just my desire to truly Love God more dearly, Know Him more clearly and Follow Him more nearly.

Here are a few example from scripture of people who made vows they vowed to keep but in spite of their best efforts were as temporary as candles in the wind.

The Israelites at Mount Sinai after seeing the mountain on fire, after feeling the ground quake beneath their feet vowed with one united voice; ‘Everything the LORD has said we will do.” They meant it. But in less than six weeks, we see the same people dancing around a golden calf and saying,  “This is our God who brought us out of Egypt.” (Exodus 24:3-7) Human nature has not changed.

Another example is the disciples at the Last Supper; they  were just as sincere as the Israelites at Mount Sinai.  Jesus said to them, You will all fall away…” But Peter who could be windier than a wind farm boasted out loud, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.”  It was just hours later that his words tasted like sawdust in his mouth.

He was like a man standing in a bucket trying to pull himself up but in the effort toppled himself over. We cannot change the moral weakness within ourselves. We need the Holy Spirit to do that.

Next, I remind you of that exceptional hero of us all, the Apostle Paul. Undoubtedly, one of the most influential characters in the last 2000 years. However, he did not make the mistake of over-estimating his own will-power. He knew he was damaged goods like all the rest, so instead he said, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:18-20)

The weakness of vow-making is the weakness within us all the weakness of our human nature.

These three examples remind us that we’re no stronger that the saints who have gone before us. I pray that in this year of 2014 you will ask the  Holy Spirit to help you also to,  Love God more dearly, Know Him more clearly and Follow Him more nearly, day by day by day.”

It’s a Beautiful Thing!

Pastor Robert Bryant