Keeping Our Word – Obedience Now
Today I want to talk about taking action and keeping our word. When should we take swift action, and when should we take time and deeply analyze the situation? Is there risk to taking action without first analyzing everything? How do we factor in risk? There are so many theories on risk management and mitigation, and there can be so many variables and factors. Knowing what to do can sometimes be a daunting task.
“On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.” – Gen 17:23
Knowing what decision to make, and what path to take, becomes a lot easier the more time that you spend in God’s Word. And without question, the more you know His Word, and the closer you get to God, the more you hear His voice. And when you know that you are aligned with His Word, the easier it becomes to know what to do and to take swift action. It is in fact necessary to take immediate action when you hear from the Holy Spirit and know that God is asking you to do something. Look at how Abraham was obedient and took immediate action, and became the father of nations. When it came time to sacrifice his son Isaac, he was obedient and took action immediately. God put Abraham to the test, and once Abraham proved faithful, he saved the child by providing a sacrificial ram.
Do you think God won’t put you to the test? Look at how He tested Abraham? Look how Jesus himself was tested in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. We will all be tested, our job is to get at it. God has got us. All we need to do is make sure that we are aligned with God’s Word. When we are not aligned, and we try to take things into our own hands and solve the problem in our own way, it is not going to work out in the long run. Our actions need to be aligned and done God’s way. He said He’s got it! Ever have a friend or family member say, “I got it, I got it”, and then they don’t do it? Seems like that happens more and more these days. We’re all guilty of it sometimes, but keeping your word is a critical component of developing trust. If we say that we are going to do something, we have to in fact to it.
You’ve heard the saying that “A man is only as good as his Word”. There is so much wisdom to that saying. When we don’t keep our word, we basically are lying. We are saying we are going to do something, and then we don’t. We can give an excuse, like “we had something really important come up last minute.” But the fact remains that we said we were going to do something and we didn’t. Intentional or unintentional, a change of plans is a broken promise. From the other person’s standpoint, who was the person counting on us, they are let down. And their takeaway from the situation is that the person who let them down cannot be trusted.
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Ever since I came to understand the critical importance of keeping your word, I work very hard to keep it. Some might say that I am kind of over the top about it. But keeping our commitments is critical to all relationships. It is the foundation of trust. And when we do what we say, people can trust us. When we don’t, and give excuses, people cannot trust us. It is that simple.
But what if we make plans and then something really important does come up? This is when we have to figure out if we want to go back and ask whoever we made a promise to for their permission to change it. Note that it is super important that we “ask” to make new plans, a new agreement, a new commitment. Also note that there is a huge difference in asking to change plans, and telling someone that you are breaking the plans. Asking for their permission tells them that you value them enough to not break your promise to them. Not asking for their permission tells them that they are not important.
Maybe this is a new concept, or maybe it is just a good reminder. Just remember that when you say that you are going to do something and then you don’t, you are letting someone down, not keeping your word, and breaking your commitment to them. And commitments are the key ingredient to trust. When you keep your commitments, this builds trust. When you don’t keep your word, this builds distrust. Let this one burn in – keep your commitments.
Keeping commitments is more how we can be like our father in heaven, and more like his Son Jesus Christ. God keeps His commitments. He always has, always will. And so should we. Don’t give your word out loosely, think about it before you make someone a promise. Simply don’t make a commitment when you don’t plan on keeping it. People will trust you more, and you will begin to even trust yourself more.
Think about those people who you know that you can always count on. They always come through for you. They always do what they say that are going to do. If we want people to trust us, we have to be one of those people who keep our commitments, no matter how big or how small. And don’t discount the little commitments. Even little things like being on time. If we say that we are going to be there at 7pm, then we need to show up at 7pm. If we say that we will be there in 20 minutes, we should be there in 20 minutes and not 2 hours. These things may seem small, but a broken promise is a broken promise. And no broken promise is small. Every broken promise kills trust.
Most people can improve in this area. Take a minute and think before you give someone your word. Before you answer, think about what you can actually agree to. If you don’t plan to do something, don’t say yes just to please someone for that moment! You are giving your word! Pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth. And THINK when you make a commitment.
Ecclesiastes 5:5 – “It is better to not make a promise than to make one and not keep it.” And “When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.” – Ecclesiastes 5:4. So if we want to be more like God, our Creator, (1) know that we will be tested, (2) be thoughtful of the commitments that we make (don’t be a “people-pleaser” and not mean it), (3) keep our word to others, and especially to God. If you make promises to God, and then don’t keep them, what do you think that He is going to think about your word? Is he going to be able to trust you? Finally when you make a commitment with God, Do It, and Do It Now! If we think commitments to fellow man are important, then how much more important are commitments to God?
God loves you. God wants to walk with you more than anything else. He longs for you. All you need to do is turn to Him. Give Him the time of day. Spend time in the Word. Talk to Him through prayer, and listen for Him to speak to you. He will do it through the Word – the Bible, in time that you spend with Him. That is the number one way that God tends to talk to me. God also sends other people of God to us to reveal things to us. But be careful who you listen to. We should be weary of listening to one of those friends with 9,000 problems and more drama for your momma than Jerry Springer show. That is likely not someone that God sent our way for advice. But it might be a pastor or bible study leader, or a trustworthy friend of God who might speak faith into your life.
My prayer is that you hear from God, either by the still small voice that is the Holy Spirit, through the reading of the Word, or through someone that God uses to talk to you. Are you being tested right now in some way? Are you struggling with a health problem where things just don’t look good on the surface? Are you struggling in your relationship with your significant other, or a family member, or a friend? Are you really struggling with money? Whatever you are facing, know that you can turn to the Lord and ask for help. God always keeps his Word. He is always faithful to those who love and honor Him. Turn to the Lord, and work with Him on your problem. And instead of telling God how big your problem is, tell you problem how big your God is. There is no problem too big for our God!
Dear heavenly father, we turn ourselves over to you today. We lean not unto our own understanding, but unto yours. We trust in Your Word, in Your Timing, in Your plan. Lord if you just help us right now through this trial that we are going through, we will do our part. We will give you more time in the day Lord, and not just forget about you until we go back to church next Sunday. We long for you Lord, and will seek You first. Help us Lord. Help us Lord. Help us. Help us to hear your Word, and take our first step toward you Lord. We know that this Word was meant for us today. We ask that you let it sink deep into us Lord, to take root in us Lord, that we might grow in your Will, and in our relationship with You. We are so thankful today for all that you have done for us Lord. And we ask today for your continued blessing, and for increased blessing Lord, that we can be a delight and a blessing to others. We ask for help in our actions, in our cheerful Spirit, and in what we can give to and share with others. We love you Lord, and we ask all of this in the name of Your One and only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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