A vow is not something you do as a formula to get God to do what you want Him to do. If that’s how we look at it, we’ve missed the boat. In his latest message, What Jesus Requires, Pastor Jeff Vines reminds us of the importance of the vow we made when we came to Christ.
The whole point of the vow is that we recognise there’s something in our lives that requires God’s intervention to be successful. What we’re asking God to do is work miraculously in our lives. The idea is not to get Him to do what we want, but for Him to move in a way that opens our eyes to what He is doing.
‘Do you remember when you came to Jesus the first time you made a vow?’ asks Jeff. ‘There are some things you promised to do. There’s a great story in John 21, where Jesus comes back to restore Peter. The last time Peter saw Jesus, he had denied him three times.’
This whole account in the Bible is about restoring Peter and reminding him of the vow he’s taken. When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, do you love me, unconditionally with the highest, loftiest love? Peter knows he can’t claim that because if he loved Jesus unconditionally when He was in his presence, he would not have denied Him.
‘Peter is deeply grieved because he knows Jesus is questioning whether or not he even likes Him,’ says Jeff. ‘And Peter responds and says, Lord, you know, all things. That’s a statement of omniscience. Peter is saying, Lord, please don’t look at the way I’ve acted. Look into my heart and you’ll see that I love you more than anything else.’
The question for us is, do we love Jesus more than anything else? That’s the vow we made. It’s okay to come to Jesus, as we first did, thinking we were going to get something from Him. But Jesus is asking, Peter, do you love me for what I can give you? Or do you love me for me?
‘When you realise that, your eyes are open to the reality that everything you’ve ever needed He’s already given,’ says Jeff. ‘And one day you’ll be with Him in eternity and all sicknesses will be healed and all pain will go away.’
Jesus Melts our Hearts
Until our hearts are melted by what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we won’t love Him even if we want to. Jesus, says, Peter, do you love me more than anything else? Jesus says this to Peter, and remember the Apostle Paul talks about the belt of truth. The truth is the thing that reins everything in.
‘Jesus says, Peter, every morning you get up, you gird yourself, and you go wherever you want to go,’ says Jeff. ‘But if Peter loves Jesus, those days are gone. Now, when he gets up in the morning the Lord is going to order his steps.’
Jesus tells Peter he’s going to be crucified and in his crucifixion, he’s going to glorify Jesus by his death. He goes on to say that because of Peter’s death, the church is going to explode with growth because people will see his faith commitment even to death.
‘You know what the sacred question is, don’t you? says Jeff. ‘Do you love Jesus more than anything else? And are you willing to sacrifice everything for Him? That’s the vow you made.’
‘He gave you His all, and He requires nothing less of you.’