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Keeping Our Promises To God

Then I will continually sing of Your name, fulfilling my vows day by day.
-Psalm 61:8

I want to ask you a question:  What are you going to do?  I mean, what have you told God you are going to do and are you doing it?  What I am talking about is that when you love someone who loves you, you spontaneously make promises to them out of your love.

How do you choose to live?  Our lives are filled with responding to what God has done, becoming aware of what God is doing, and asking God to do things.  There are many facets of the God side, but there is also the you side: "what are you going to do?"

In the 'you doing' are you keeping your promises to God, whatever they are?  Are you doing that?  How are your life's choices impacted or governed by your promises to God?

To have communion, to share life, between you and God; is a key dynamic of your life.

Sharing life with God is the life that we live.  We have communion with God on a daily basis through God's gift and love mediated through Christ.  We enjoy God and live in a life of worship and keep our promises to God through Christ and in love.

We are day by day singing to God and fulfilling our vows, because we have God in our lives by faith.  Fulfilling our vows means keeping our promises.

In the relationship we have with God, we have recognized God's love and come into salvation, saying "I do", as a bride says, "I do".  As a bride, we are betrothed through unconditional love.  But we make promises or vows back to our bridegroom, to God, to Christ, out of our love for him.  And we live daily, keeping the promises we have made, communing with God in our living out our vows.

When we interact with God, it is natural to ask God questions or make requests of God.  And it is also natural to tell God what you want to do in relation to him.  You have questions and requests, and that is fine and good, but what do you say that you will do?

There is no perfect or correct answer to my question.  Our lives are made up of what God has done and is doing, and what we decide to do.  We don't just live in the big wow of discovering what God has done, but we also live with God in the decisions we make in regards to God.

Life is filled with challenges.  Success and failure, prosperity and set-backs, favor and loneliness, times of building and times of being attacked; all these times challenge us.  In these times, especially when we have a problem, we call out to God.

And God sometimes feels distant when we are having a problem.  It is like the problem is separating us from God.  The problem becomes the center thing and we call out to God.

I know stories of people promising things to God, when they were in a fix and I have done that in my life, but that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the promises that we make to God when we are in love with God.  I imagine that if you are a believer, you became one because you got touched by God and know God's love and you love him back.

When we love someone and receive their love, we naturally love them back.  We make a commitment to them and in love, we make promises to them.  It's like we say that in the light of your love and all that you have done and promise to do, here is what I want to do, will do, or promise to do for you.

You have probably heard a saying about married life that goes something like, "a wedding does not a marriage make".  In other words, whatever kind of wedding you have, it does not guarantee a healthy marriage.  Because a healthy marriage depends on what you do, day by day, in your marriage.

In the same way, a healthy or fulfilling relationship with God depends on what you decide to do, day by day.  The happiness or fulfilling life all depends on you.  You are as whole, have as much joy, have as much peace, and have the amount of love that you choose.

I watched a romantic drama last weekend, where a couple ended up getting married.  At the wedding, the man pulled out some papers and recited vows to his bride.  This was a surprise to her.

She thought that they were just going to get married, and then work out their love life together.  But the man surprised her and told her from the moment he met her, he began writing out the vows he would make to her at their wedding.  He went above and beyond her expectations.

The groom in this story, did something that is optional.  Today, some people do traditional vows, some people like the man in my movie write their own vows, and others have no vows.  It is the same way in our relationship with God: the vows are optional and we can write our own, saying what we have heard others say, or make our own vows.

The word vow is a little bit old fashioned.  A more up to date word is promise.  The wedding vows are promises.  At weddings today, we usually hear, "I promise".

We can and it is natural to make promises to God.  Lovers make promises to one another and it is the true lover that keeps their promises.  Keeping promises is a day by day thing.

It is natural to make promises to someone you love and then live in the keeping of those promises.  This is the way that loving, covenant relationships work.  Marriage is a covenant and our relationship to God is a covenant.  Out of love, we make promises to our spouse or to God and then we live in the keeping of those promises.

Do not think that anything you do earns the love of your beloved.  We do not pay for or earn our salvation from God through our chosen promises that we make and keep.  But we are paying back or returning the favor.

God does do all sorts of things that we want to praise him for and return the favor so to speak.  But paying back and payment for services rendered are two totally different things.  The more that you return the favor or pay God back, the more you will be blessed.

But this has nothing to do with merit or your elevation or your earning salvation.  It is like a child that chooses to come to grandpa and get hugs.  The child who chooses the coloring book over getting hugs and kisses is not bad, but the child who chooses his grandpa's embrace and thereby gets hugs and kisses, gets that tangible, relational blessing that the coloring book can not give.

Our lives, as adults are just like that.  God's embrace is available and God's ear is open, but we have to choose to go into God's embrace or to talk to God.  People who choose something else over God's embrace are not necessarily bad, but they are just missing out on hugs and kisses.

Here is a song that describes what I am talking about.
My Lord, My God; by Darren Clarke


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