“I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (Psalm 116:14)
This is such a simple principle but packed with eternal implications. Keeping my covenant with God is dependent upon me living that life in the context of tangible encouragement from my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I think it was Dallas Willard who said; “Your relationship with God is personal but not private.” In other words, if I expect to live a “with God” kind of life, I’ve got to pursue that together with others who are pursuing that kind of life. Covenant keeping with God requires covenant making with others.
This principle holds true for the universal covenantal promises God’s people are to live in light of as revealed to all in Scripture, but also with respect to the more personal and specific things. For example, I have felt God calling me to write during this sabbatical leave, and so I’ve “vowed” to do so. That vow was first made to God and then communicated to others who I hope will encourage me along the way until completion. And so vows have to be clear in one’s own mind, then declared before God and his people…not unlike the way we pronounce vows at a wedding.
As I think about it, it might be critical for some to prayerfully consider if they are aware of any specific vows they may have made with God under His prompting. This relates to dreams and goals that a person has had in their life that have related to their relationship with God and the life He has made possible. When God has revealed a vision or dream we should follow up with making a vow…a promise to God regarding our intent to move toward that by faith. Perhaps thinking it through with something like this in mind:
“By God’s grace I vow to…”
“By God’s grace I vow to follow through on _____________.”
“By God’s grace I vow to give my life for the sake of __________________.”
Give this some thought and let me know what you think!