“He remembers His covenant forever, the promise He made, for a thousand generations.” 1 Chronicles 16:15 NIV
Ask any of my siblings, and one of our most hated phrases from my dad was, “I’m not making any promises.” He would pull out that line if we were trying to get him to let us do anything. I think it was his way of getting us to keep working. He did not give any guarantees, but he did give us a chance. If he ever did promise anything, you could put it in the bank. He would have rather died than break a promise. Thinking back, I realize that he looked at his word as meaningful. He did not throw it around lightly.
I was reminded this week about promises I made a long time ago: The seven promises of a Promise Keeper. There was a time when attending a PK conference was an annual event that I looked forward to attending. At our peak locally, we would take over 100 men to a weekend-long event with 20,000 men from all over the country. I saw men break entirely down at these. Lives were changed. Marriages were changed. Fatherhood changed. Those weekends were special.
Here is my question for myself this week. I promised then, but do I still? The promises were:
- Honor Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God’s Word.
- Pursue vital relationships with a few other men to assist each other.
- Practice spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
- Build healthy marriages and families through love, protection, and spiritual values.
- Be willing to be God’s hands and feet, serving others.
- Reach beyond racial and denominational barriers.
- Influence the world through being obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
If you used to attend those conferences and that doesn’t sound like you, maybe there is work to be done. We make all kinds of promises to our spouse, employer, and kids all the time. My son wants to know that after school every Wednesday, he and I have dedicated time. He asks about it every week. Every week I say, “I promise.” But, like my dad, I would instead not let my family down.
I have dedicated time with my kids and my wife, specific days for one on one time. I am pretty consistent. But there was a time when I let work get in the way, especially of the day spent with my wife.
We mutually decided that taking on a second job was a good idea. We were on the same page when it started, but I let it get out of control. My wife was understanding as to why, but eventually, you could tell that I broke my word, and it mattered to her. Re-alignment was necessary.
I sometimes wonder if I have let a friend down. That promise to assist each other is significant. Do I do that? Sometimes life will change your position; this is true. As we mature, perspective can change. But promises made should be a big deal. If I don’t mean them anymore, why? How does the person to whom I made the promise feel about my change of heart?
I sometimes wonder whether or not God will break His promise: Grace. I never think He will break it for someone else, and I reserve that judgment for myself. I sometimes wonder if I have tested His limit of patience so severely that He says, “Nah man, you’re out.” He does not. I know His grace has no limitations, especially if it points to me being able to wrestle myself out of His grasp. None of us are strong enough to do that. Being able to make Him let go points to me, thinking I am strong enough to grasp it in the first place. His word says it is free, and He does not throw His Word around lightly.