Yes, that is an inner vow. We all make inner vows at some point in life, more often when frustrated, hurt, or rejected. What is an inner vow? Here is the perfect commercial to watch. When I watched it I looked at my wife and was like, “That’s a perfect commercial about inner vows!”
Let me be clear. I believe that Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension is a finished work. Jesus’ took back authority from satan and has given it to us. It is a finished work, plain and simple. But we play a part. We co-labor with Christ. God hasn’t finished working and neither do we finish working till our revealing as the sons of God. Again, this is a finished work….we just walk in it and appropriate it in our life.
An inner vow is a self-made promise a person makes to themselves usually during or after a traumatic experience or situation in which one is rejected by peers or parents etc. For example
A person’s best friend lied about them behind their back and their reaction is, “I’ll never trust anyone again.”
A Wife catches her Husband watching pornography and her reaction is, “My husband is dirty and I can never trust him again.”
A child was sexually abused and the reaction which is more subtle, “I can’t trust those in authority anymore.” On a side not: this issue is far more complicated and can involve many other issues and possible dissociation especially for repeated abuse. No shame or condemnation at all for this because this is actually a natural defense mechanism that protects children but as an adult can keep someone in bondage. Professional help would probably be necessary.
A son watches his Mother verbally berate her Husband/his Father in public and private and reaction is, “I’ll never get married or trust women in relationships. Better to stay single where I am safe.”
Like I stated above and inner vow is often followed by a bitter-root judgment and bitter-root expectancy which is formed from a foundational lie. The inner vow is, “I will never” or “I will always.” While the bitter-root judgment is, “because all women are manipulative” or “all men are abusive” or “those is authority are controlling.” “I will never trust a Pastor again because my last one hurt me by rejecting me and manipulating me so all Pastors are the same.” “I will never” is the inner vow. “because my last one hurt me by rejecting me and manipulating me so all Pastors are the same” is the bitter-root judgment. The bitter-root expectancy is all women will manipulate and all pastors will control and reject.
Inner vows are motivated by bitterness and self-protection and they end up putting walls in our lives. An inner vow is a flesh empowered, self-righteous determination. They prevent us from operating properly is situations. Bitter-root judgments are how we judge something or someone and bitter-root expectancy is how we except things to happen regardless of the situation. Bitter-roots cause us to become like the one we judge by the law of sowing and reaping. Bitter-root expectancies predetermine our responses to situations. Resentments cannot produce righteous deeds. These all generally occur in childhood by age 8 or so but can also happen in adulthood if a situation is very traumatic. Inner vows in children can create spiritual slumber in which spiritual life is minimal or not present at all. Spiritual slumber is when cannot experience the joys of God or of life in others or themselves. Each case is different, of course, so I speak in generalities in these things.
I tend to not like certain individuals evangelistic prayers like, “God, if you will save me, I will serve You the rest of my life.” It sounds great and can be. I don’t want to be dogmatic here but sometimes we vow to God things that we either won’t do or haven’t done. I still believe God honors that prayer but have we honored it? “God, I’ll never do that again!” we say, I’ve said, but how many times do I do “that” again? God knows and honors us in the midst of it all! And that is beautiful news! I also must honor it or break that vow so I can walk forward in freedom and act according to the Spirit without making vows or promises.
Ecclesiastes 5:3-7 declares
If you make a vow to God, don’t delay in discharging it. For God takes no pleasure in fools, so discharge your vow! Better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not discharge it. Don’t let your words make you guilty, and don’t tell the temple official that you made the vow by mistake. Why give God reason to be angry at what you say and destroy what you have accomplished? For [this is what happens when there are too] many dreams, aimless activities and words. Instead, just fear God! (Complete Jewish Bible)
Proverbs 20:25 says
It is foolish and rash to make a promise to the Lord before counting the cost.
Matthew 5:33-37 says
“Again, the law of Moses says, ‘You shall not break your vows to God but must fulfill them all.’ But I say: Don’t make any vows! And even to say ‘By heavens!’ is a sacred vow to God, for the heavens are God’s throne. And if you say ‘By the earth!’ it is a sacred vow, for the earth is his footstool. And don’t swear ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the capital of the great King. Don’t even swear ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Say just a simple ‘Yes, I will’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong.
Wisdom doesn’t say, “I’ll never do that again.” Wisdom is not doing it again. Talk is cheap, as they say. Inner vows can be the same as word curses. There are many times I’ve said, “I’ll always be fat” or simply “I’m fat.” And guess what? I am overweight at the moment. So instead of me continuing on fulfilling that vow I need to break it and ask God to forgive and loose me from the vow…I have lost 10 pounds now and on my way losing more.
This inner vow, bitter-roots thing isn’t some dark room we need to strain to see into in order to fix ourselves. Introspection won’t bring freedom. It is simply asking God to turn the lights on in the room to clean house. I’ve said it before and will say it again, “Seeking darkness will not produce light and vice versa.” We acknowledge these things in order to break their power over our lives. Here is a sample prayer, not to be confused with a formula. God is into protocol, not formulas. In place of the ____ put the inner vow you believe(d). In the other ____ put the bitter-root judgement and/or expectancy. ON the fourth ____ put the lie you believed that provided the foundation. Fifth ____ put the Truth. Lastly put the name of a person who was involved in the vow, judgment, and/or expectancy.
Father, in Jesus’ name, I come boldly before Your throne of grace seeking Your mercy. Holy Spirit show me, in Your grace and truth, areas where I’ve made inner vows to myself or about people along with the vows I have made to You in which I have not fulfilled them, either in childhood or adulthood. Father, reveal the vows I made either consciously or unconsciously. Father, forgive me for vowing _____. Forgive me for forming a bitter-root judgment concerning ____. Forgive me for forming bitter-root expectations by expecting ____. Father forgive me for believing the lie that ____. I repent for that lie and I choose the truth that ____. Forgive, me and cleanse me. Father go back to those childhood times of trauma and enter into them and show me that You were there and precisely where You were. Heal the trauma, rejection, bitterness, and wounds I received. I choose to forgive ____ for what they did or may have done, whether intentional or unintentional. Forgive me how I reacted in the soul. Today, I choose to respond to the Spirit and respond in my spirit. Father I ask you to release me from the inner vows, bitter-root judgments and expectancies from generations past, including my parents, whether step parents, foster parents, or adoptive parents and the those I made myself. I now address any demonic beings, if they haven’t left by now, and command them to be removed by the authority and power of Jesus’ name. I bind, renounce, and rebuke all demons attached to the inner vows, bitter-root judgements, and expectancies that I made and those done in my generational line. Father God, Almighty, I ask that You would deal with any cosmic beings that are involved as well. I ask that You, God, would rebuke and led away those cosmic beings. I submit to God’s authority in this area.
I now, by faith and experience, receive your faithfulness and justice to forgive me. I stand under the Blood, Cross, and Resurrection of Christ and declare myself white as snow. Father loose me from these vows that I have said, agreed to, and/or lived out in my life. Take the Sword of the Spirit to these roots and sever them from myself. May all ungodly fruit drop to the ground and be no more. Thank You, Father, for turning on the light. I receive Your light as armor and guidance and glory. I now put on the Lord Jesus Christ. I put on the armor of light. I put on the new man who is led by the Spirit and not my former vows. God empower me to say “Yes” and “No” to things. I now rely on the Holy Spirit on how to respond to situations in my spirit and not my soul. Holy Spirit, lead and guide me. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen!
Father, I ask that You would seal the work done with those who read this. I call forth righteous fruit and righteous roots to take hold. I pray love would fill their hearts, minds, and actions. I pray you fill all empty spaces left with your Spirit and that You would enthrone the thrones of their souls. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.