Saturday, December 8, 2018

Standing Up In Front Of God

     I had only been a Christian for a short time. I was in the first church that I became a part of after being born again (testimony here). A lot of stuff was still new to me, after being set free from the rote traditions of the Lutheran church I grew up attending. One thing that they did in this new church was to "dedicate" babies and small children. 

     Churches that do this do so because they believe "infant baptism" is a not a Biblical concept. (I agree. The Bible shows that baptism should follow a decision for Christ, not precede it: i.e. Acts 2:38,41, Acts 8:12-13,36-38, Acts 16:14-15,30-34). However, some parents want to commit their child to the Lord, and to have others stand with them, and pray, as they raise the child. At the time, this a was pretty new thing to me. 

     So... a couple came forward with their son to make this commitment. The pastor asked "If anyone will commit to pray for this baby as he grows up, will you stand up?" Of course, everyone stood up, including me. A few more words were spoken, then we all sat down. Then, I started contemplating what I had just done. I had just stood up in front of God, and said "I will commit to pray for this boy AS HE GROWS UP." Not, "I will pray for this boy," which entails praying a time or two for him, but praying for him "AS HE GROWS UP!" I had committed to pray for this boy for years!

     I feel pretty confident that out of the 300 or so that stood up, I was the only one who thought of this. For several reasons, we left this church a few years later. However, I kept on praying for this boy occasionally over the years.

     As coincidence(?) would have it, about 20 years later, the couple who brought that baby forward for dedication began to attend our new church. My wife encouraged me to tell them what I had been doing, so I decided to do it. When I did, they were astounded. It turns out that he is doing very well. He is a Christian, and one thing he has been doing is medical missions. Praise God! I don't know if my prayers over the years played any part in that or not, but that is the best outcome I could ask for.

     My point in writing this though is not about my prayers, or their outcome. My point is that we need to pay attention to the commitments (vows) we make to God through our words (or actions my case). Making a vow or commitment to God is a BIG thing. God does not take it lightly (Deut 23:21)(Eccl 5:4-7) (I discuss this here). What are some examples? 

     Number one in my mind is our marriage vows. Many of us have made a vow before God to stay with our spouse "till death do us part." How many think of this before they divorce? People make vows to stop doing something (i.e. a habit), or to start doing something (i.e. read the Bible more). People make vows at salvation, baptism, when confirmed (as I did at one time), to stay a virgin until married, when they are in trouble and want God's help, and many more you can probably think of.

     The Bible tells us that it is best not to make vows at all (Mt 5:34-37)(James 5:12). But, if we do make one, God expects us to keep it. Failing to keep a vow is not an unforgivable sin, but failing to keep it can have consequences. Therefore, be VERY cautious about the words that you speak to God. You may be making a promise that you will be responsible to keep for years, or maybe even a lifetime.

(P.S. This came to me while shaving before the shower. See: Why The Name?)

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