Oaths • Devotion 4

Josh Thayer

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No;’ anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:33-37

Sometimes I feel that with how busy our lives are today, it is very easy for us to make a promise to someone, or even ourselves, and not follow through with that promise. Maybe it is just me and I am the only one who is super busy and things fall through the cracks, but I feel like people can relate to what I am saying. Here in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is basically saying let your yes be yes and your no be no. Yet, why is He saying this?

I do not think we need to complicate this. We can realize that Jesus is putting an emphasis on telling the truth. As human civilization, I think we can safely say people are breaking promises left and right, and the concept of what was once sacred is now just a casual thing. So finding someone you trust, as the years go on, is getting harder and harder. Jesus is telling us, His followers, to not use promises but that our word should be enough. Being a trustworthy person has a lot of benefits to it, especially when trust is an extremely important quality in building committed relationships. Think about your sphere of influence and how many of those people would you consider trustworthy? Are you known for your trustworthiness? Do not lie to yourself!

To me, trust plays a very important role in not only building committed relationships with friends and family, but it plays a vital role in sharing the Gospel. Mind-blowing, I know, but think about it. If you are known for telling lies or bending the truth, then how are you going to be able to achieve the one thing we are all called to do? How can someone know if you are telling the truth about Jesus if you do not tell the truth in your everyday life? This is the double standard Jesus was warning us about. We are all called to a higher purpose and everything we do in our lives needs to reflect that! So the next time you think of breaking a promise, ask yourself, “Will this hinder my ability to share the Gospel with someone and possibly change their life for eternity?”

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” James 5:12






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