Under Promise - Over Deliver
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! John 13:37-38
I struggle with this tension. In my overly optimistic, helpful disposition --I can promise to you what I can’t give you. In a moment of exuberance, my unbridled zeal can overcommit my will. I’m learning that clear understanding must precede costly commitment. Otherwise, I ignorantly and sometimes even arrogantly, promise what I cannot deliver. It's better to be quiet, wait and pray for the right process to precede. A helping heart needs time to learn how to best help.
Peter’s famous passion was called into question by Christ. The rambunctious disciple was giving answers to questions whose true ramifications he did not understand. He seemed more interested in his own self preservation of not being left alone without Jesus, instead of following Jesus. Indeed, the Lord called him out as one who would eventually out his Savior by denying that he knew Him. Peter was not ready to die for Christ until he was able to speak up for Christ!
“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13-14).
Yet, under the Holy Spirit’s control we can commit our will to catch up and follow at a sustainable pace. Patient prayers protect our pride from making rash promises just to make us feel good in the moment. We can’t allow the desire to please a person override our previous promise to first please God. Moreover, a cool down period clears the air of unrealistic expectations. Emotions require a respite before they respond. Wisdom confers with a trusted confident, before it entrusts itself to another self. Discernment guides us in how best to give.
Furthermore, we are called to lay down our life for the Lord. We die daily to our selfish desires, so His desires have dominion. We die to self reliance and come alive to trust God. We die to self promotion and come alive to bragging on Jesus. We die to self condemnation and come alive to our worthiness in Christ. We die to selfish taking and come alive to generous giving. We die, so our life hidden in Christ waits to be deployed into sacrificial service. We can rest in the Lord, as our prayerful promises have His timely delivery. Mature faith under promises and over delivers!
“You know that God expects us to abide by the oaths we swear and the promises we make” (Matthew 5:33, The Voice).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me patience to under promise and diligence to over deliver.
Related Readings: Psalm 85:8, 106:12, Hebrews 8:6; 1 Peter 2:21; 2 Peter 1:4, 3:1; 1 John 2:21
Post/Tweet today: In a moment of exuberance our unbridled zeal can over commit our will. #wisdomhunters
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