was awaiting my turn at the grocery checkout and chuckled at the
claims made on the numerous magazine covers. One promised Lose 20
lbs. fast! Another boasted a diet that even got my
attention; Lose weight by eating more food! I thought,
no doubt empty promises; but they sell the magazine!
Tommy Grimes has been a preacher,
teacher and pastor for many years, focusing much of his
ministry on studying prophecy and the events of the "Last
Days." Tommy is also an accomplished musician
(Guitar), Songwriter and Writer. Tommy lives on Colorado's
Western Slope with his wife & ministry partner, Carma, and
together they travel all over the country preaching, teaching
and singing about God's grace, love and mercy.
The inference is clear: follow the rules of the diet and you will
earn the reward promised. However, the reality of the dieting
experience proves the promise to be fleeting. Why is this I
wondered? I concluded from my own dieting failures the problem to be
rooted in lack of will power!
Could this human frailty
be the cause of frequent failures and disappointing progress in the
Christian experience? I know this has been an issue for me at times
and I suspect some of you can agree. Have you ever been challenged
by a spiritual truth promising yourself to change only to fail;
again, again, and again?
I’ve discovered a
spiritual truth that I believe will help us when tempted to trust
our willpower for spiritual growth. “But above all things, my
brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth,
neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea: and
your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
(James 5: 12 KJV underline emphases mine)
We are aware of the
dreadful reality of failing to perform vows in the Old Testament. “When
thou vow a vow unto the Lord thy god, thou shalt not slack to pay
it: for the Lord thy god will surely require it of thee; and it
would be sin in thee.” (Deuteronomy 23: 21) Yet, one need not
vow! “But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in
thee.” (Vs 22) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see
people drawn into the trap of making a vow to gain some spiritual
increase or victory over some besetting sin. The preacher may have
had good intentions but the result is bondage – I will prove it by
the text in James.
James admonishes us with
great emphasis “But above all things,….swear not….by
any other oath” The Greek word for swear is om-noo'-o,
meaning to take (or declare on) oath. He connects the
word swear with the word oath in this verse. James is
instructing us not to make empty promises but simply say yes or no.
Otherwise, he says, “you will fall into condemnation.”
The word condemnation here is, hoop-ok'-ree-sis – meaning acting
under a feigned part; that is, (figuratively) deceit
(“hypocrisy”): - condemnation. When we fail our promise, we fall
into the trap of secret hypocrisy. This causes us to lead a life of
self condemnation or judging ourselves as incapable of moving
forward and higher in the things of God. This does not please God
and is indicative of our lack of trust in His graces to help us
Vines Dictionary of New
Testament Words defines the oath as, [is primarily equivalent
to herkos, "a fence, an enclosure, that which restrains a
person;" hence, "an oath." Can you not see the
trap of the vow when trusting human will power! The Lord's command
in Mat_5:33 was a condemnation of the minute and arbitrary
restrictions imposed by the scribes and Pharisees in the matter of
adjurations, by which God's Name was profaned. The injunction is
repeated in Jam_5:12. Grasp the importance of that which
Jesus is instructing then compare His word to James’ teaching in
our verse (James 5: 32)
5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of
old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto
the Lord thine oaths:
5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by
heaven; for it is God's throne:
5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by
Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst
not make one hair white or black.
5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for
whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
If you find yourself
living under condemnation (self-judgment, deeming yourself as
unworthy or living under a self curse for failing to live up to
promises made to Him) effectively keeping you from fulfilling
God’s desire to have you close to Him: ask forgiveness now for
trusting your ability more than His grace to bring you into His
promises of victory. Forget about your mistakes! Keep coming to the
fountain filled with blood – drawn from Emmanuel’s veins –
because sinners plunged beneath the flood lose all their guilty
stains! Praise God.
Song Ministries, Inc.