I prayed a lot while I was on duty in Iraq and I made all sorts of promises to God about the way I'd live if He got me out of there alive. Well, He did, but I've been back about six months now, and I'm ashamed to say I have not followed through on my promises. How can I do better? — J.D.
One place to start would be to pause at the beginning of every day and thank God for watching over you during a very dangerous time in your life. The Bible says, "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7).
But I urge you to take another step—and that is to ask yourself why God delivered you. He didn't deliver you because you made promises to Him (although it wasn't necessarily wrong for you to do so), or because you were better than anyone else in your unit. He delivered you for one reason: He loves you. And because He loves you, He has a plan for your life.
How do I know He loves you? I know it because Jesus Christ was willing to lay down His life for you. Christ could have stayed in heaven and forgotten all about us—but He didn't. Instead, He came down from heaven and died on the cross so you and I could be saved. You and I deserve to die for our sins—but Christ died in our place. He did it so all our sins could be forgiven and we could be with Him forever in heaven.
The most important step any person will ever take is to turn to Christ and commit their lives to Him—and that's what I urge you to do. Then seek out other Christians, and learn to walk with Christ every day. God bless you.