Impulse Control and Follow-Through

We can so often let our appetites or our emotions control us in bad ways.  There are reasonable appetites given to us by God, we need to feel angry about injustice and we need to desire to eat food in a regular or healthy way.  However, I have noticed that strong emotions can catapult people into impulsive behavior.  The worst environment for this to happen is in our relationship with God.  It is amazing how many people bargain with God in a dangerous situation, but what do we do with our end of the bargain when danger has passed?  It is even more ridiculous when we expect God to answer our self-focused demands.  He might, but he doesn’t have to.

In short, there needs to be wisdom during times of stress and during times of excitement.  A good friend who is often with us can be given permission to counsel us when our emotions are running away with us.  We can ask ourselves a question like, “Would I do this if my feelings were different?”  there are ways to stop ourselves from rushing in and making rash promises or threats that we can not or should not follow through upon.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

 1 [a]Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

 2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
   do not be hasty in your heart
   to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
   and you are on earth,
   so let your words be few.
3 A dream comes when there are many cares,
   and many words mark the speech of a fool.

 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.

Questions

  1. Why should you let your words to God be few?
  2. When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
  3. What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
  4. When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
  5. How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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18 Responses to Impulse Control and Follow-Through

  1. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.Why should you let your words to God be few?
    – Not to put God to test because He is God who is the greatest and the most faithful one.
    2.When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
    – in Matthew 6:7-8, it implies that a prayer with many words does not make the prayer poweful, because God already knows what we need before we ask him.
    3.What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
    -Show us that you are God by bringing some miracles to our life then we will believe in that you are the One.
    4.When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
    – When I couldn’t think of the answer for an exam question which I absolutely went over.(I did this when I was little.)
    5.How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?
    – Don’t be afraid of facing whatever the result of the crisis is because God is the One who takes care of you and the consequence regardless of the result is whether beneficial or painful.

  2. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. You should let your words to God be few so that you do not make vows and promises that you can’t or won’t keep.
    2. When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, he reinforces the idea of being brief in our prayers with God by giving us an example that is brief. He does not go on and on, making promises to God and bargaining with God, He just simply prays to God about what needs to be said.
    3. The kind of vows that an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner might both make before God are ones that are in their interest and benefit them. Everyone wants good things to come to them, no matter what time period or place you live in.
    4. I don’t remember a specific time that I bargained with God, but there are many times that I have prayed for God to give me the answers for a test or do really well in a soccer game, just for my own selfish gain.
    5. In times of crisis, we should depend on God and lean on Him and His strength to get us through, trusting that it is part of His plan, rather than thinking that our ‘deal’ with God is going to do something better than what He already has planned.

  3. Kristen Patush says:

    1.Why should you let your words to God be few?

    We should stand in awe of Him and His majesty. As we would not ramble to an earthly king, we need to bow in respect to the King of kings. Our hearts should be so humbled before the God of all, that we need to Him to direct us to even utter a word in His glorious prescense.

    2.When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?

    The Lord’s prayer hold s lot of meaning, and deep prayers, but is very brief and to the point. In the same way, we should not dance around our requests to God, but ask Him directly.

    3.What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?

    Devotion to a life of service to God, being obident to the Word, ect…

    4.When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”

    I think I have bargained with God when I was younger, before I became a Christian. When I was Catholic, that is what I was taught in order to get something from God.

    5.How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?

    We need to saturate everything in deep and meaningful prayer, and we need to seek the counsel fo others.

  4. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. We should let our words be few so that we don’t try to get God into doing something for us. We should also let our words be few so we can allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us.
    2. He doesn’t go on and on with a whole bunch of selfish requests. Instead, He teaches them to pray that the Lord would supply their needs, forgive their sins, and help them to forgive others.
    3. They might promise to never commit a certain sin again, promise to give a certain amount for offering, or promise to serve God in a specific way.
    4. There have been a few times when I have tried to bargain with God and then realized what I was doing.
    5. When a crisis happens in life, we should remember that the Lord has a plan that is better than any plan we might have for ourselves. We should pray that the Lord will help us to remember that He is in control and that He would help us to accept whatever the outcome is even if it’s not what we wanted.

  5. Sokloon Dy (Lizzy) says:

    1. We should let our words be few to avoid making mistakes with our tongues. Also, because God is superior to us in every aspect.
    2. He reinforces shortness of prayer through the prayer itself. it’s short. it’s to the point. instead of going on and on with repetitious words that are unnecessary.
    3. they would promise to live completely for God, stop sinning, start giving to the Lord 10%, reading His Word more, etc.
    4. I have tried to bargain with God many times, but i always realize that God, even though He may answer our foolish prayers sometimes, He cannot be bargain with by mere men.
    5. Be still and know who God is without panicking and making rash vows/promises. He already has our lives in His control.

  6. Amy Kringle says:

    1. We should let our words be few because we are so little compared to how great God is. He knows everything that we need and think and our wordiness does not impress him.
    2. He himself prays in a brief way that acknowledges who God is and the needs that man has and the desire in his heart for God’s plan to be fulfilled in the earth.
    3. God, if you give me _______then I will start being nice to my enemies, not doing a certain sin, etc.
    4. I’m sure I have, but I can’t think of any…maybe because I’m bad at upholding my end of the deal…
    5. We need to put ourselves into the perspective that God has a plan for the world and for us and nothing will happen outside his plan. We should be comforted in the fact that he hears our prayers and concerns even without a bargain!

  7. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.Why should you let your words to God be few?
    – Because when you speak too much words, you have more possibility to say foolish things.

    2. When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
    – Right before Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, He tells us not to repeat the meaningless phrase over and over because God already knows what we need before we ask.

    3.What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
    -They might make vows before God when they get married that they would live with the one who they married.

    4.When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
    – When I was trying to get into the university that I wanted to go to, I prayed that, if God would allow me to go to the university, I would live righteously (looking back, I was silly, I need to live in a righteous way anyways…..) 

    5.How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?
    – We should try to come up with what God would want me to realize through the times of crisis, and try not to make rash decisions on that situation and ask God what He wants us to do rather than bargain with God.

  8. spiritandtruth1128 says:

    1.Why should you let your words to God be few? When we talk to God we should be honest and humble. God knows the deepest desires of out hearts and we shouldn’t waste time trying to impress God with our words.
    2. When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God? He tells us not to be like hypocrites, to not seek the attention of others and to go in private to speak to the Lord.
    3. What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God? Giving their life completely to God and making a vow to live a life reflecting His love.
    4. When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …” When I was younger I did this a lot with God. I didn’t think it was foolish before, I thought it was normal. However, I always asked God for my desires, which were foolish, things that I didn’t need and things that would only harm me in the end. God didn’t give me those things because it wasn’t what He desired for me.
    5. How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others? I think we should try to remember that there are certain things we are just not capable of doing. We shouldn’t try to make vows with the idea of impressing others or making them happy, but we need to be realistic and think of how much better it will be to keep your word in the end instead of letting someone down.

  9. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.Why should you let your words to God be few?
    my words are dull and foolish compare to God’s wisdom

    2.When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
    In the Lord’s prayer,the subject is God. we in the prayer are only the object ,which means the main, the Almighty, is God. The prayer is mainly asking God to give us his help and work in our lives(it doesn’t say we can do by ourselves..). in the prayer, Jesus humbles human but exalts the Almighty God

    3.What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
    they have vowed to follow only God, but, today many nations are corrupted and derailed.

    4.When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
    when i really wanted to do something or to get something, I tried to bargain with God…

    5.How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?
    we should try to trust only God in any circumstances. It sounds very conventional or hackneyed, but it is a dilemmatic cycle which happens all the time!! we should acknowledge that everything is under God’s power so that we should rely on and trust in only God.should not to try to change things by our own will and power, since it will never work like that!!!

  10. rebecca Langer says:

    1.Well, I think that there is certainly a high level of respect that we need to give to God. We should make sure that we are not just making all these promises and not fulfilling them.
    2.His prayer was not all that long. I probably takes a minute to say.
    3.They might vow to love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. Also perhaps to obey the 10 commandments and to put others first.
    4.I am sure that on many occasions as a child I tried to bargain with God in order to get something I wanted whether that be a good Christmas gift or a bicycle or something.
    5.I think that we should pray to God for peace, understanding, and humility before anything else. So often when I am upset, the problem is not other people, but myself.

  11. Cassie Clark says:

    1. God deserves our careful words and reverence in what we say. All else is what Solomon would call meaningless.
    2. Everything Jesus said was succinct and straight to the point. No meaningless words.
    3. To love Him and be faithful for their whole lives.
    4. I have thought that, but usually do not try it. It seems low to put God at a human level with me.
    5. Accountability! Allow others to check your actions before you do them. Those who know me best see when I am acting in character and when I am not.

  12. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. We should let our words be few because sometimes or words can just overpower the setting of our relationship with God. He wants to talk to us and to be with us but sometimes we become more consumed with what we have to say and what we have to offer than we are consumed with just being with Him.
    2.Jesus reinforces being brief with our prayers as he keeps it simple, and short, not trying to be fancy which shows that He trust in the Lord to have His way, knowing that He does not have to beg or manipulate God into doing anything, He just offers up His humble prayer.
    3.Both an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both may make the vow to God that if He reveals Himself in the way they’d like or does what they ask, then they will truly believe in Him and follow Him in anything that He wants.
    4.I’ve tried to bargain with God by saying that if He would just bless me with certain opportunities that I would make the very most out of them and glorify Him through those opportunities, which is just kind of crazy to think about because God knows a lot better how I can glorify Him than I do, it is not like I am more concerned with His glory than I am.
    5. We should manage our emotional highs and lows by seeking God in prayer not only for our request but for His wisdom, and therefore seek His answers above our own so that we don’t make rash promises to Him.

  13. Grace Yoo says:

    1. We should let our words to God be few because as humans our speech is dull and like a fool.

    2. Our prayers with God should be brief by having few words and we should not waste time by being fancy with long words to try to impress God.

    3. I think that some of the vows that an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner would make would include their faithfulness and obedience to God.

    4. I have tried to bargain with God lots of times. If he did something that I desperately needed then I would do something good.

    5. We can manage our times to not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God by “not being quick with our mouth” and our hearts must “not be hasty”.

  14. trishaindonesia says:

    1. God already knows what we’re thinking. And half the time, we tend to just blab about things that aren’t really “that” important. We worry and talk too much about the shallow things of this world.
    2. By going straight to the point with our prayers and not fluffing it out with other words. God doesn’t care about how long our prayers are, but what our hearts say.
    3. To seek Christ more and for Him to continue to show His plan for that person’s life.
    4. I have done that too many times. And really, that is very wrong for me to have done. I am working on changing my attitude in being more humble and willing to accept whatever the circumstance the Lord has given in my life and to still be grateful and do great things in return for Him.
    5. To really think about the vow you’re about to make. To ask for wisdom and continually seek the Lord and trust that He is in control.

  15. Kerri Klingsmith says:

    1. Why should you let your words to God be few?
    Because God is holy and worthy of respect and honor.
    2. When Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, how does he reinforce the idea of being brief in our prayers with God?
    Yes.
    3. What kind of vows might an ancient Israelite and a modern westerner both make before God?
    It really is the same. If you do this for me, I will do this for you. We vow our commitment to God to gain things that seem important at the time.
    4. When have you tried to bargain with God, “If you do this, then I will …”
    I really try not to because I know that our commitment to God is not contingent upon whether or not He gives us what we want. I think when I was little I did once because I was afraid of a “monster” in the dark. It was really just an old shoe.
    5. How should we manage times of crisis so that we do not make rash vows or meaningless promises to God or others?
    Our faith needs to be firmly grounded in the Lord. When times of crisis come, if He is our sustenance, we will not falter.

  16. 1. well, personally… i tend to let my words get carried away if i am not careful with them. i think it’s extremely important for us to know Who we are talking to. God knows our hearts and knows what we want, anyway. and God already knows what is going to become of each situation.
    2. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done”…. God’s will is going to be done.
    3. “God… if you answer my prayer about this, i promise i will devote my entire life to You”. not that this ever actually happens… we have great intentions, but always slip at some point because we are human. again, it’s a heart issue that only God can decipher.
    4. well, i know i used to use those words a lot a few years ago. within recent years, not so much. i have found that God is sovereign over all, and He knows my heart and knows what is best for me. i know that He makes all things work together for my good, so i don’t necessarily feel like i have to “make Him an offer He can’t refuse”. 🙂
    5. we need to trust God with everything, and just leave it at that. we need to believe what the Bible says about His sovereignty and trust Him… it’s as simple as that, but that is so hard for most of us because we want control over our situations.

  17. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) We should let our words be few before the Lord, so that we can listen to Him more, and not make any rash vows/comittments.
    2) The Lord’s prayer is short and to the point, not long and drawn out for attention.
    3) It’s easy to promise the Lord that you will do anything for him if he will only heal someone you love, but following through on those promises are challenging.
    4) When my younger sister was sick, I made some promises to God without thinking them through.
    5) We should stay in the word and in prayer, relying on him.

  18. aaron wright says:

    1. we should have few words so that we are careful about making false promises to God and don’t act on the spur of the moment.
    2. its not a very showy prayer, but it has deep meaning to it.
    3. If you do this for me (out of selfishness) then i will trust you.
    4. i would ask God for certain events to happen in my life and i would promise him that those would be all i need and God would make me happy in that way.
    5. we should take time to pray about them. We should ask God if what our convictions are are really from Him or just out of excitement.

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