Numbers 30:1-2 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
I’m sure we all know people who are untrustworthy. We take whatever they say with a grain of salt because it’s too often a fabrication. We take little stock in their promises because seldom do they come to fruition. I like to think of myself as a man whose word is good, but there are times I made promises that I didn’t keep. The failed promises I made to my kids are especially biting in the photo albums of my mind.
Many of you will remember “Cats In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin. It’s a song about broken promises and the regrets of a lonely man as he realizes he has trained up his son – well – to make promises he never intends to keep. I hated that song when I was a kid because my father made all sorts of promises that he, too, never intended to keep. I hate that song today for all the empty promises I make. Don’t get me wrong, I am way better about all this business than my father was. Nonetheless, I caused a lot of unnecessary pain.
Thoughts like these can cause me a lot of trouble, and I suspect that I am not alone. How can one possibly undo all that has been done? The short answer is that you can’t. From this point, I have two choices, two paths that I can follow.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
One voice in my head tells me there is nothing I can do to make things right. Jesus tells me he makes all things new. The one I listen to is the one my life will reflect. Satan will have me live in guilt. He cannot take my salvation, but he will gladly destroy my witness. Jesus, on the other hand, forgives me and lifts me up. He assures me that I am a child of God’s and that he has paid for all my shame. While I bow in worship, I can hold my head up because of what Jesus has done for me.
Will I do that? Will I listen to Jesus? He gives me clear commands on how to do it.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
To take every thought captive, I must first be aware of what my thoughts are. Any thought that doesn’t line up with what Jesus teaches must be destroyed. In doing so, I replace wrong thinking with right thinking. I am a child of God’s.
Now, that doesn’t relieve us of our past. Our sins are forgiven, yes, but as Jesus makes all things new, so must I. I have hurt people. I have amends to make. Perhaps I cannot make good on the promises I made to a small child of mine, but I can ask forgiveness. I can change my ways and give her the love and attention she needs now. Remember, she will also have her own broken promises to deal with. If I can show her how I effectively deal with mine, perhaps she will learn from me and do the same when the time comes for her.
Little by little, we can do what Jesus came to do – to destroy the works of the devil. We change our ways.
1 John 3:8-9 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he is born of God.
Do you ever wonder why shame and guilt are so difficult for us? It’s because it is contrary to our nature. Our new spirit is wired for God. Sin no longer suits us. To commit the sin of shame and guilt, we must force ourselves to do something we are no longer designed to do. These are two emotions we need to “take captive” and destroy. They have no place in our minds. They are of the devil and no longer welcome guests.
Satan, I resist you. Scripture is clear, “Resist the devil and he shall flee.” (James 4:7) I resist you and turn to God.
Father, thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers