As I continue my series on “adding to their zeal,” I land on a fairly simple and highly impactful one: teaching students what the Bible says about commitment-keeping.

This simple exposition will alter their lives more than many of the things you could teach them, not only because they’ll keep commitments better, but also because – when they realize the high call of Scripture – they’ll make fewer commitments, too.

The Bible (see below for some “starter verses”) is clear: Hasty commitments are sinful, and actual commitments (even hasty ones) can’t be broken (without the “commitment-holder” releasing you). Not every “signup” or “sure, I can grab lunch” is a commitment… but integrity demands our students learn the difference there, too.

…”This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” (Num. 30:1-2 ESV)

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; …who swears to his own hurt and does not change… (from Ps. 15 ESV)

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. (Prov. 6:1-3 ESV)

When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear. (Eccl. 5:4-7 ESV)

Of course, there are more verses like this – and examples, to boot.