Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise to do everything you say.
(Psalm 119:57 The Message)
Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!
(Psalm 119:57 The New Living Translation)
You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to keep Your words.
(Psalm 119:57 The Amplified Bible)
Okay, so it is honest answer time this morning! How many times have we made the promise to be obedient in some area of our daily Christian walk and then before the day was over, we somehow forgot about the promise? If you are like me, probably too many to count! We often promise God that we won't follow some path of wrong choices - then almost instantaneously turn back to doing what we committed NOT to do.
God knows perfectly well that our promises to be obedient will be spotted with occasional failures. I think that is why he says, "4-5 When you tell God you'll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it. Far better not to vow in the first place than to vow and not pay up." (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 The Message) Solomon was the son of David, so it stands to reason that he learned a few of these lessons from his father. Here he points out that it is better NOT to make the vow than to make it and not keep it.
So, why are we always making promises that we have no ability to fulfill? Perhaps it is because we expect to fulfill them all on our OWN! God never expects us to fulfill the promise of obedience on our own. He gives us the Holy Spirit, his Word, and a conscience to help guide us - give us direction. As we embrace these "tools", we find we are moving closer to obedience than we ever could with only our own will-power.
What is "will-power" anyway? Simply put it is the ability to control one's OWN impulses. Another term we use today is "self-control". Since the time of Adam and Eve there is evidence that this concept of being able to "control" self is pretty fickle business! Solomon wrote, "Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!" (Proverbs 3:5-7 The Message) When we get in the "mode" of trying to figure everything out on our own, we get into a place of self-reliance. We expect to find the fix, work the fix, and then declare we are fixed!
How's that working for ya? Not so well, I imagine! First of all, we don't know the fix or we'd never be in the mess we are in! Second, whenever we think we can work the fix ourselves, there will be "steps" and "parts" that we just don't know or possess on our own. It is like thinking we can put together the pieces without a guide! If those boxes of Legos did not come with picture diagrams and step-by-step guidance, we'd never get the Batmobile out of those hundreds of pieces in that box!
To think we can declare ourselves "fixed" is sheer arrogance on our part. We have a pretty inaccurate "measurement" by which we compare ourselves. To make a comparison of self to any other measure than the Word is to have a faulty measure. David says, "I promise to obey." Don't miss how he tells us he will accomplish this obedience - it is making God his! He nuzzles in closer to God and allows God to get down to business in his life. In that moment, there is an exchange - David's imperfection and disobedience for God's grace and encouragement.
Where are you finding your satisfaction today? Is it in finding the fix, working that fix, and then declaring yourself fixed? If so, you will not enjoy that satisfaction for long! If it is in hearing God say, "We'll work on that together," you are likely finding great encouragement for the work that lies ahead! There is some truth to that bumper sticker, "Christians aren't perfect, they are just forgiven." God knows that our obedience is contingent on one thing - his presence in our lives. He relishes the opportunity we give him to "fix the fix"!
So, today is a new day - yesterday was filled with its messes and failures. Tomorrow will work itself out. Today is the day the Lord has made - let us pull near to him, rejoice in him, and rely on him to bring out the best in us today. Stop relying on your "will-power" to make you into a new creation. In delighting in him - making him the object of our affection and attention - we are aligning ourselves with the power that affects our will! It is when the will is affected that obedience is the outcome!