Have you ever had someone tell you they would do something for you and then fail to deliver? Perhaps it was a co-worker, whose work you depended on and when he didn’t follow through, it left you hanging with more work to do. Maybe it was a friend who many times in the past told you, “Let’s meet for coffee” yet every time you initiate a meet-up, she can never commit. Or maybe someone in your family promised multiple times to work with you on a project and it still lies there unfinished.
Whatever the commitment, when someone commits to something and doesn’t follow through—doesn’t keep their word—we are left disappointed. In some situations, it may leave us in a difficult situation. Or worse. When people let us down multiple times, we begin to question and distrust the things they say. Often we find ourselves depending on that person less and less.
In my own life, I’ve certainly experienced this. I’ve expected friends, family, or co-workers to follow through on something they promised and felt let down when they didn’t. I felt disappointed. I was left burdened. In some cases, it created a barrier in my relationship with that person. Trust was broken—one of the hardest things in life to rebuild.
Our Word Keeping God
For those who have been hurt or let down by those who have not kept their word, there is good news. There is One who will never fail to keep his word. There is One we can always trust to fulfill his promises: Our Word keeping God.
God only has to speak and worlds come into being (Gen. 1:1). His word is powerful; even the wind and rain respond to his command (Mark 4:39). His word never returns void; it always accomplishes his purposes for it (Isaiah 55:11). He makes promises and never fails to keep them. He commits and covenants with his people and always follows through. What he says is true (John 17:17). Unlike humans, who may intend to keep their word, but then something unforeseen happens to keep them from keeping it, because he is God, he controls all things, including the future; if he says he will do something, we know he will do it.
God’s written word is just as powerful: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It teaches, trains, and corrects us: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Further, the word of God became flesh: Jesus Christ. In Christ, God’s words and promises are fulfilled. The promise of all promises —“I will be their God and they will be my people”—was met in Christ when he came to earth, lived a perfect life, and bore the punishment for our sins. Our Savior brought us back into right relationship and fellowship with God. His death on the cross is a reminder to us of God’s faithfulness to keep his word.
What this means is, we can trust our word keeping God.
Keeping Our Own Word
As Christians, as those who are redeemed by the blood of the Word made flesh, we should care about the words we say. Christ came to set us free from all sin, including our sinful speech. He paid a high price for our words so that God’s word would change and transform us. Even now, the Spirit is at work in us, making us into people whose speech is holy and sanctified.
Because of what Christ has done for us, we desire to image and reflect him in the words we say. We want to think before we speak, and consider the consequences of what would happen if we don’t keep our word (Proverbs 29:20, James 1:19) We desire to follow through on the words we say, and apologize when we let someone down. We hesitate to make commitments we know we can’t keep; if we know can’t follow through on our promises, we refrain from making them. (This includes promises to pray for people!) And when other’s let us down, we forgive them because we know how hard it is to keep our own word.
Let us rejoice and give thanks to our faithful God for never failing us or letting us down. His word is trustworthy and true. And may our words to others reflect The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who spoke perfect words in our place and continues to speak on our behalf before the throne of grace.