My mother always told me not to promise anything, because only God is able to keep his. Her words stuck with me, and I never “promised” to do anything the rest of my life. I said “yes” or “no”, or “I’ll do my best to help you out.” A promise was not for me to give or keep.
Returning to his native England at the close of World War II, Major W. Ian Thomas and his wife Joan wanted to make a difference in the lives of European youth, beginning the Torchbearers ministry in 1947. I love this quote:
“Lord Jesus, I can’t, You never said I could; but You can, and always said You would. That is all I need to know”. From that moment life became the adventure that God always intended it to be.*
We are limited as human beings. I can’t be everywhere at once. I can’t see into the future. I can’t even remember what I ate this morning!
If we know these simple truths, then why are we so eager to bind ourselves by words of promise and oath? Jesus even told us, “all you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”*
I can’t promise. I can’t guarantee.
But God can.
He’s the Creator of the Universe, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent God. He alone can make and keep his word, his promises, and they are the only promises on which we can rely.
So, not only do I need to stop putting my integrity on the line by promising, I need to stop putting my trust in the promises of the world to make my life easier, sweeter, richer, and happier. They are false promises that lead to disappointment and despair.
Instead, I’ll sing along with the lyrics by Russell Kelso Carter to claim my stance:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.
Where are you standing? On the sinking sand of worldly promises or on the solid Word of God? It’s your choice — choose the place you can stand firm and reap the benefits.
Grace and Peace
*Taken from Torchbearers website: https://torchbearers.org/who-we-are/history/
*Matthew 5:37 (NIV)