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Be Quick to Keep Your Promises to God
By Rick Warren

When you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible.” Ecclesiastes 5:4 (GNT)

You probably make a lot of promises. Think back over the last few days. You may have promised to run an errand for your spouse, to meet a deadline for your boss, or to help a child with a project. Maybe you promised yourself you’d start a new healthy habit. You may have even made a promise to God.

When you make a promise to God, you should be quick to keep it. Just like delayed obedience is disobedience, a delayed promise is an unfulfilled promise.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 says it clearly: “When you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible” (GNT).

When you started following Jesus, you probably promised him that you’d start living life according to his plan, not your own. And to keep that promise to God, there’s another time you need to respond quickly: When you’re tempted, you need to be quick to run away from that temptation!

Temptation requires that you have both preventative and emergency tactics. Preventative tactics mean that you work to keep yourself out of tempting situations. But today let’s focus on emergency tactics—what to do when you are being tempted.

The Bible clearly says what to do with temptation: “Run from all these evil things” (1 Timothy 6:11 NLT).

When you feel tempted to do something self-defeating or dishonoring to God, you should move out of the situation rapidly. In other words, you should run!

What should you not do? Don’t argue with temptation. Don’t fight it. Why? Because you’re going to lose.

If you’re watching something on television that tempts you to lust, change the channel. If you struggle with alcohol, run far away from the bar.

One specific temptation the Bible tells you to run from is the worship of idols: “Flee from the worship of idols” (1 Corinthians 10:14 NLT).

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “I don’t have idols in my house.” 

But anything you put before God is an idol. In some cultures, people have idols that look like stone or wooden figures. But in the U.S., we’re more likely to carry our idols in our wallets, watch them on TV, or park them in our driveways.

So here’s another way you might think about it: What person or thing do you idolize? Success? Beauty? A favorite athlete or sport? A certain celebrity? Social media?

No matter what your idols are and no matter what your temptations are, the strategy is clear: Run away. Don’t argue; don’t fight. Just run. If you don’t want to get stung by the bees, get away from the hive.

Remember—following through on your promises matters! So when you’ve made a promise to God, be quick about keeping it!

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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