It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one’s vows.
Be cautious in making vows. Be cautious saying that you will set something apart for God. Be cautious because God takes seriously your word. He will hold you accountable for what you say.
Because we are only as good as our word, our words should be carefully chosen and few in number. Making a vow requires the following:
It requires humility. We too often make vows out of pride. We overestimate our ability and determination. Like Peter, we are quick to vow allegiance where we really need to be pleading for mercy.
It requires discernment. We should be able to count to cost accurately and our assets accurately before committing.
It requires a calm spirit. Again, vows are often made in the heat of the moment, in being caught up in emotion. We are more likely to carry through what we decide to do while calm.
It requires leaning upon God’s Spirit. We can only fulfill what the Spirit gives us the wisdom and strength to do. We should only carry out what we know the Spirit is leading us to do. We can do nothing of ourselves; we can do all things through the Spirit of Christ.
Finally, we are to rest and find our hope in the vow our Lord made for us – to be our sacrifice, to assure for us the salvation to which we were elected. Our hope rests not in the seriousness by which we have made our vow to God to surrender everything to him, but in Christ’s vow to surrender everything. He carried out his vow and will continue to carry out his promise to safeguard us until the day of his coming.
Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
2 Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.
3 Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
4 Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded.
5 My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.
10 They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.
13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
may their children gorge themselves on it,
and may there be leftovers for their little ones.
15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.