When writing about the topic of making commitments and keeping them, the author of Ecclesiastes was very clear about the right way to handle them. In The Message, his words are paraphrased: ‘Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think…When you tell God you’ll do something, do it – now. God takes no pleasure in foolish drivel. Vow it, then do it. Far better not to vow in the first place than to vow and not pay up. Don’t let your mouth make a total sinner of you. When called to account, you won’t get by with “Sorry, I didn’t mean it”’ (Ecclesiastes 5:2, 4-6 MSG). That means we mustn’t be impulsive, we should listen as much as we speak, get as much information as we can, and then ask God for wisdom and guidance before making a commitment.
People often say what they think others want to hear, but that can end up causing a lot of trouble. We must be very careful not to promise something we can’t actually deliver. And if we do make a mistake and over-promise, we need to be honest and admit our mistake as soon as possible, rather than trying to cover it up or make excuses. We might make a commitment based on our emotions, perhaps because we feel sorry for the person who’s asking, or because we want them to like us more. But true commitment doesn’t work like that. Emotions are constantly changing, but commitment has to be absolutely solid. It should be based on integrity. Real dedication shines through in times of trouble and adversity, and goes the distance when it’s based on godly values. So before we make a commitment, let’s take time to think it through and get God involved.
Whether you’re about to commit to something big, or a smaller thing like promising to wash the dishes, check in with God first and make sure it’s something you can honestly follow through with.
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