Greater Promise

Written by Benedict Boo (Singapore)

Benedict chose this name for himself when getting baptised because he truly feels blessed by God. Each morning, love for his family and sports pull him off the bed, which was bought by his teaching and writing. Thankfully, all can be considered his passions.

October 23, 2023

Promises and running come together like a foot in a sock. 

“I’ll meet you for the run, rain or shine.”

“I’ll cover x km a week.”

“I’ll run with you for all of the 50km.”

I’ve been on either the giving or receiving end of these statements at some point.
Promises, claims, goals, resolutions; whatever we call them, they’re ubiquitous in running.

It’s all good when we see these promises through and enjoy the subsequent results.
However, what happens when (and it often does) the promises fall flat? 

Here are three responses I have observed: Adapt, Bail, or Change (A-B-C).

Adapt

  • It’s just not possible to clock 50km a week.
    Life happens, you know? Let’s adapt our agreement to 40km. 
  • ‘Special’ circumstances this week. 30km?
  • Crazy week; let’s adjust to 20km instead. 
  • Busy again! 10km?

Bail

  • Promises are for the narrow-minded. We need to be fluid and move with the times.
  • Let’s NOT make promises. We know from experience that we’re not going to keep them anyway. 
  • We’ll go with the flow and take life as it comes. No promises, no commitments.

Change [the source of promises]:

  • Mr. X cannot keep promises; let me look for Mr. Y instead. If he fails too, I’ll go for Mr. Z. 
  • Since a leopard never changes its spots, I’ll just look for someone more reliable who can keep their promises.

As with so many other facets of life, these scenarios carry corresponding truths in our spiritual walk. 

To the Adapters (of which I’m sometimes one), let us remember to keep to our words.
Of course, reality sets in at times, but that’s when God’s Word finds its value in our lives – in practice, not just the theory of His truths.
Adapting is akin to compromising, and we know where that slippery slope leads us to.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus so that we can persevere and keep to the course. 

looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 (ASV)

To the Bailers (again, I’m guilty), of course, we ought to be flexible, but are there reasons for not planning ahead?
Perhaps we need to check if we’re choosing the easy way out or mortified by that ‘C’ word – Commitment.
There is value in planning, and it definitely adds to our chances of completing what we set out to accomplish.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,  saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’”

Luke 14:28-30 (NIV)

To the Changers (I’m definitely one sometimes), let us remember that our faith should ultimately be directed at God.
There are certainly giants among us, role models worth emulating, and wise leaders we can learn much from.

However, be wary, lest we end up worshipping them instead of our Heavenly Father.

Even the greatest of men (and women) can fall, and if we had been “following” them, our faith takes a dive as well.
Let us put our faith in Jesus, who will never disappoint nor fail us. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

A promise is not something to be shunned, though it oftentimes leads to disappointment.
There is great value in making and keeping promises.

We can learn much from the One who has promised to be with us to the end of time.

Find joy, refuge and truth in Jesus, our Greater Promise.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20b

PRAYER & REFLECTION:

  1. When do we compromise on our goals?
    Do we make nice-sounding and people-impressing promises only to adjust them as reality sets in?
    Let’s pray for that unwavering dedication to the cause.
    God’s cause. 

Application: Write down a specific goal with a clear timeline and ask God to help you see it through.

  1. Are we afraid of commitment?
    Do we allow the fear of failure to cripple us so much that we steer clear of plans and goals?
    Let’s pray for faith and diligence in charting the course ahead with His wisdom.
    Then trust in His enablement.

Application: Make a plan to achieve something for God.
Count the cost before embarking on the plan, and do your due diligence. 

  1. Do we change our plans and goals as we see people around us making waves in their spheres of influence?
    Let’s pray for single-hearted devotion to our Lord Jesus and not be distracted by contemporary trends and ‘miracles’.
    We give thanks for Godly men and women, but we worship Jesus alone. 

Application: Identify any leader or person we are worshipping.
Give thanks for them, then ask Jesus to turn your eyes upon Him.

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