Vows For Spiritual Power

Most of us know something of making vows. If you are married, you exchanged sacred vows with your spouse “to have and to hold, ‘til death doth us part.” If you have borrowed money, you’ve made vows to the bank. It’s hardly possible to live without making vows—to others, to God, to yourself. “Thy vows are upon me, O God, I will render praises unto Thee.” (Ps.56:12)

When people get right with God, they make some kind of vow to the Lord. Jonah prayed, when he repented of his backsliding in the belly of the great fish, “I will pay my vows to Thee.” A foolish man will make vows and then forget them.  Solomon said, “When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it. For God has no pleasure in fools. Pay that which thou hast vowed.” (Eccl.5:4)

Peter vowed to Jesus: “Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.” It was a vow that Peter would later break. In fact, all the disciples did the same when they chimed in, as Peter vowed, “Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee.” (Matt. 26:35) 

Paul knew what it was to vow something for God’s glory. Listen as he speaks: “Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (I Cor. 8:13)

It is good, therefore, to make some vows, holy vows, to God—for His glory and for the good of His Church. Pastor and author A.W. Tozer gave us some vows for spiritual power that I would like to share with you as a challenge to a life of service in the advancement of His kingdom through your own personal spiritual growth:

  •  Vow to deal thoroughly with sin!  Call it by its right name. Sin is not an accident; it is an abomination; not a blunder, but blindness; not a defect, but depravity; not a chance, but a choice; not an infirmity, but an iniquity; not a trifle, but a tragedy; not a mistake, but madness; not a weakness, but a willfulness. In 2 Kings 18:4, the good king Hezekiah—whose father, Ahaz, was a bad king of Judah leading his nation into idolatry—began ridding the temple of all signs of wicked images and idols when he ascended to the throne. One of those wicked idols was the brazen serpent that Moses had made; it had become an object of idolatry. Hezekiah broke it into pieces and called it “Nehustan,” meaning a “mere piece of bronze.” (Ryrie’s Study Bible notes). It’s amazing how the world oohs and aahs over “entertainment,” such as big half-time shows that are devilish and foolish. We need to label sin for what it is.

Sin is destructive. It wastes bodies, souls, minds, churches, futures, homes, and communities.  The artist Leonardo da Vinci painted a cherub-like picture of a young, street-urchin’s face, which he hung on a wall of his studio.  Years later, the renowned artist wanted to paint a face to illustrate the devastating scars of sin and a wasted life. While he was painting this dark portrait, the ruined man that he had found on the street to sit for it commented that his was the boyish picture that hung on the studio wall. He had sat for the portrait when he was but a child.  Sin disfigures, damns, and ends in death.

And, it is deceitful. It promises pleasure but produces pain. It opens up as bright as the morning sun—but closes in the depths of darkness. Its velvety paw first appears beautifully inviting, but at last the pretty paw closes into a cruel claw, out of which its victim can only find relief by the grace of God. Do not be deceived by sin! It is a “monster of such hideous mien, as to be hated is but to be seen. But seen too oft, familiar with her face; we first endure, then pity, then embrace.” (Alexander Pope)

Make no mistake: Sin will take you farther than you had planned to go; cost you more than you had intended to spend; and keep you longer than you had wanted to stay.  It is deceitful at its core. Jeremy Taylor nailed it:  “A man is first startled by it; then it becomes pleasing; then easy; then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then confirmed; then the man is impenitent, obstinate and damned!”

  • Vow to never own anything. Whatever you own will eventually own you. “But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ…and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil. 3:7,8)

It is said that monkeys are trapped with a hollowed-out coconut that is chained to the bottom of a tree trunk, a large handful of candy having been placed into the hollowed-out core of the coconut. Invariably, the biggest monkey will venture to where the coconut is, stick his hand into the hole of the coconut and grab a big fist full of candy,  only to discover that, when trying to retreat, he cannot get his hand out while his fist is doubled up with candy. His greed becomes his downfall! And so, too often, does ours! “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” (I Tim. 6:6-8)

Someone once asked the then-wealthiest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller, how much money it would take to be “enough.” He replied: “Just a little bit more.” “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (I Tim. 6:9) As Rudyard Kipling said: “Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.”

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt.6:33)

One thought on “Vows For Spiritual Power

  1. Hi Tony, good blog condensing your last Sunday’s message. Did you get Travis Smith’s blog today? If you didn’t let me know and I will send it to you. Larry

    Sent from my iPhone



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