The Bible tells us: “It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay”  (Ecclesiastes 5:5). I learned that lesson first hand from God.  At sixteen I solemnly promised God that I would dedicate my life totally to Him when I was married and could make my own decisions. I was raised in a home where God did not rule and Sunday was not set aside to God. I asked the Lord to keep me by His grace until I was married.  God made sure that I had a living example of 100% dedication through a Godly aunt in the family. I fully knew what I had vowed. I knew what full dedication meant and I was without excuse when I failed to keep my promise. God abundantly kept His promise to me.  He blessed me and favored me during those seven years I was only partially committed to Him.

At twenty-three, I was married and making my own decisions. I considered myself a Christian but I knew I was not totally yielded to God. I was God of my own life and only called on God when I needed Him. One day the Lord brought my world to a screeching halt!  I came down with a seemingly incurable case of bronchitis.  I no longer had the health or strength to live my normal life. It was then that God spoke to me and made clear that I had not paid my vow and that He was going to remove His Spirit from me. I knew what that would mean; no longer would I have the fellowship or the security and favor I had experienced with Him.

Immediately, I knelt before Him and made the following vow:

“Dearest Lord and Savior, I give my life totally to You to use as You have purposed for me. My life is no longer mine, I belong to You.  My life is Yours to be used by Your spirit.  Lead me, guide me, teach me, convict me of sin and bring forth Your righteousness into my being.  Give me Your wisdom and understanding.  Most of all, give me an ever-increasing love for You and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will live and move and have my being in You.”

In my commitment, I did not mean that I would live a Christian life to the best of my ability.  I meant that Christ alone would be my life and He would come before all else.  I did not mean that I would make my decisions carefully and to the best of my ability.  I meant that I would commit all my important decisions to Him and ask for divine help and wisdom.  I meant that I would not just go and do anything my heart desired, but that I would put the desires of Christ ahead of my desires.  I promised that I would not fulfill the desires of my flesh, but I would walk as close to Jesus as I could – daily.  In my commitment, I meant that every day I would take at least an hour to talk to the Lord, study His word, and wait on Him to talk to me through His word or by whatever means He chose.  I vowed that I would give up my love for reading novels and give that love to the reading of His Word.

I experienced the presence of God that day.  He healed my body instantly and gave me two undeserved promises.  He said, “IF YOU WILL WALK UPRIGHTLY BEFORE ME I WILL DIVIDE WITH YOU THE GOOD OF THE LAND AND YOUR MARRIAGE WILL NEVER BE BROKEN.” God has done exceedingly, abundantly more that I could ask or think since that day.

Sixty-one years have passed since the day of my vow to God. I was not naturally born with any particular blessings; they came with my inheritance through Christ. I have been spiritually, physically, and materially blessed in every way. Whatever I have had to face, and we all will suffer in this life, God has given me “overcoming grace.” In fact, triumphant victories have been mine over and over again. I have had many deadly battles with satan, but everything has always worked together for my good. I could fill many books with the praises I have for God. I could never begin to recount all of the miraculous blessings I have received.

The greatest of all the blessings I have received are my personal encounters with God through His Spirit.  “…or I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).  I rejoice most of all because we can truly have a personal relationship with God. “To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

An obedient child of the “king of kings” shall inherit the riches of Christ and the blessings of His kingdom. God makes himself “real and personal” to His children. I have lived and experienced undeserved revelations of God and privileges beyond my natural ability to obtain. I have walked with Him and talked with Him, and His Spirit within me cries, “Abba Father.”

If your life is upside-down and not worth living and you are unable to cope with all the stress and so-called “bad luck,” surrender your life to Christ, who alone can “make everything new and blessed of God.” When our lives are not surrendered to God, we reap the destructions of satan. Living in the flesh with a worldly mindset leaves us wide-open to the work of satan. Don’t surrender only a part of yourself; give “all of your life” to Christ so you can completely rest in God’s protection. Your life will be abundant! “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

The word of God that we apply to our lives becomes alive (powerful) for us and brings us the fullness and blessings of God. The Word is inerrant and more powerful than a two-edged sword. All creation came into being through the Word. “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). The great promises of God can be fulfilled in your life through faith and trust in Christ, the living word.

This is the law of the Lord:“Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD’” (Jeremiah 17:5). “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7). “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

My prayer:

Dearest Father, I come to You in the holy name of Jesus Christ Your Son and my Savior.  I want to dedicate my life to be used for Your glory and kingdom.  I need a purified heart and spirit.  I empty myself of my fleshly thinking and ways, and ask You to come and transform me by the renewing of my mind in Your image.  Give me wisdom, understanding and greater knowledge of the things of God.  I want to see and understand Your word in all truth.  Teach me the path and the purposes You have for my life. Convict me of all sin and unrighteousness.  May I love You with all my heart, soul, spirit, and strength.

I want no other god before You.  Let me dwell under Your shadow.  Make me a blessing and an example to others.  Create a spiritual hunger in me.  Fill me to overflowing with Your rivers of living water. Make me a “light” and “salt” to others. I love You and want to have an ever-increasing love for You and all those around me. Amen.