As a kid at Mahaffey Camp, I remember a speaker saying something that surprised me. They went something like this:
Now, some of you are going to really encounter Jesus at camp this year. You’ll make commitments that can change your life. Something you should give thought to is the reaction of your parents. When you tell them how your decisions and they say, “Yeah — right. We’ve heard this before. We’ll believe it when we see it,” how will you respond.
I say this surprised me because, honestly, it never crossed my mind that a parent would be so cynical. And I immediately realized why my parents, in their wisdom, had never done such a thing: It would teach the child to, either, never make a promise again, or never share such a thing with Dad and Mom.
But I see Christians exhibiting this kind of cynicism too frequently.
Recently, men from our church stood before us and took The Resolution — from the movie Courageous:
- I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
- I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
- I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
- I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
- I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
- I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
- I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
- I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
- I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
- I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
- I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
- I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
- As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15.
I can’t imagine a parent, brother, sister, or even an in-law responding to that in cynicism. On the other hand, I can imagine the enemy, Satan, replying in that manner. But not someone who is living in the Spirit. NEVER.
When you encounter men who have taken such a vow, don’t discourage them. Instead, may I suggest you do two things:
- Pray for these men — that they will carry out this commitment.
- Encourage them, telling them that you believe in the sincerity of their commitment and the power of their God.
A sermon concerning The Resolution is here.