Have you ever gotten an advertisement for something that was too good to be true? One where the seller promised that there would be “no strings attached,” but in the end you discover that the deal did not live up to what had been promised and indeed there were “stipulations” you had to meet to get the full benefit?
This bargaining tactic is all too prevalent in today’s world of marketing. But what about our spiritual lives? Though we would never readily admit to it, sometimes we try to do the same thing with God. We promise that if He will just do this one thing, we will fulfill some promise to Him. It might go like this – “Lord, if you get me through this rough financial patch, I’ll never miss church again.” Or – “Lord, if you heal me, I’ll be faithful to witness more”. Or maybe we even set ultimatums for God – something like this – “Lord, if You want me to be truly happy, You’ll give me (fill in the blank).”
God isn’t some cosmic genie that we try to bend to our will by offering “pie crust promises – easily made, easily broken.”
The witness of Scripture is that God wants us to serve Him, obey Him, follow Him, witness for Him, surrender to Him – unconditionally. Even in the midst of all that Job went through, even with his doubts and fear, with his frustration and arguing with God, he confessed “though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15). There were no strings attached to Job’s commitment to God. He didn’t say – “Lord, if You restore my fortune, I will serve You.” He didn’t try to bargain with God. He didn’t attach any “strings” to his commitment to the Lord. And what’s more, He didn’t ty to give God any ultimatums. He decided to trust even when he didn’t understand.
So, what about you? Have you made any empty promises to God lately? What strings have you attached to your service to Him? Have you kept the vows you’ve made? Have you been faithful to serve Him, to witness for Him, to use the talents He’s given you in the ways He has told you to use them? James 4:17 puts it clearly – “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Come before the Lord with open hands, open hearts – no strings attached.