Breaking the Power
of Destructive Inner Vows
Swear not at all ... . But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:34-37
The word swear means “to vow, to promise, to affirm, or to confess.” Unless vows are inspired by the Holy Spirit, they can produce great harm in our lives. Vows made in childhood, often long forgotten, are the most harmful and often have far-reaching and devastating effects on individuals throughout their lives.
Janet: “I Will Never Let Myself Be Hurt Again”
For most of our meeting, Janet sat expressionless, with a blank, hollow look on her face. She had been an emotionally and sexually abused child, rejected by her father and given very little love by her mother. As a result, little Janet made a decision deep within her heart, an inner vow, that she would never allow anyone to hurt her again. She accomplished this by refusing to give or to receive love. As an adult, Janet was locked into a self-made prison, held in bondage by this inner vow not to be hurt, not to love, and not to let people get to know her.
Now thirty years old, Janet came to our meeting in desperation, feeling she could not go on living without an inner healing miracle from God. The pain within her heart was overwhelming. She was unable to establish a close relationship with anyone. As a result, she had no real friends and had never married.
We explained to Janet that she would need to break the childhood inner vow, which had protected her from hurts for so many years, because it was now destroying her. Her inner vow, which had been a wall of protection, had become a prison. Many people are in that same prison because of an inner vow made in childhood. You may be one of them. I was.
Breaking the Inner Vow — Coming Out of Prison
We asked Janet if she was willing to break the inner vow, and she said, “Oh, yes.” We next asked her if she was willing to forgive her father, her mother and the sexual abuser. She quickly affirmed her willingness. “Yes, yes, yes,” she said, “I can’t go on any longer as I am.” She made the decision to become vulnerable, to begin to trust people.
Next, we took her through a prayer of forgiveness and a long blessing prayer for her father, for her mother, and then for the sexual abuser. We then proceeded, in the mighty name of Jesus, to have her do spiritual warfare in loud tongues and even in holy laughter. After a few minutes, she felt a great release come. The inner vow was broken!
Next, we prayed for more holy laughter to come upon Janet. She laughed and laughed and laughed. From the holy laughter came a release of much rage and healing of the pain-filled childhood years — the root cause of her inner vow being made. Suddenly, Janet exclaimed, “My face has become unfrozen! My face has become unfrozen! It felt stiff before! I’m a new person!”
She continued to rejoice, saying, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!” She had been released from the “prison” in which the inner vow had placed her.
Childhood Inner Vows
It is estimated that about twenty-five per cent of women are molested sexually in childhood by family members or others, and nearly all of these women make a strong inner vow to shut down their emotions and to distrust all men (and this often includes God). Because of this, relationships with other people are doomed to failure, and a happy and fulfilling marriage becomes almost impossible.
The deep desire to protect oneself from further hurt causes many to make inner vows in childhood. An inner vow like Janet’s, not to be hurt again, is one of those most frequently made. For many of us, such a vow is powerful and prevents us from becoming vulnerable and transparent in our relationships with others. It keeps “the real me” from being seen or known by others. Such inner vows become the root cause of our having a distrust of men, of women, of preachers, or of others. Three of the most damaging inner vows are “I won’t trust anyone,” “I won’t show my emotions,” and “To be loved, I must earn it.”
A Vow to Suppress Our Emotions
When we make a vow to suppress our emotions, it holds us back from childlikeness, from being the person God has created us to be, and from loving and receiving love in the dimension that the Lord has for us. Moreover, it bottles up the rivers of living water, making it difficult to teach, preach, witness or prophesy with the freedom the Lord desires. It also hinders our ability to praise and worship God with the intensity and fullness He desires.
Make a decision, in Jesus’ name, to break any inner vows you may have made, and then, in spiritual warfare, shout in tongues for two or three minutes. To break the vow deeply and to open up to the “rivers of living waters” shout in tongues for thirty minutes a day for three days in a row. Many have testified that this changed their lives, and your life will be changed too, as a result of your obedience.
My Inner Vow
When I was about twelve, my parents transferred me from a public school to a private one. I was warned that it might be difficult for me to attain even passing grades. To make matters worse, I was being separated from all of my old friends.
I fiercely determined to do well. I overzealously sought to be outstanding in my grades, and this offended many of my new peers. To everyone’s surprise, including my own, I made the highest grades in my class. This led to jealousy, criticism and rejection from the other students, and that, of course, hurt me deeply.
This whole affair came to the attention of the principal, and one day he called me into his office. He criticized me for my extreme “eagerness” in pursuing excellence. He was probably right, but what he said that day hurt me deeply, and I made an inner vow that I would no longer seek excellence.
In spite of many natural talents and much hard studying, I never again made the honor roll — in middle school, high school, college or graduate school. And I could not understand why. That inner vow had become a curse on my life. My ability to be excellent was imprisoned. That vow also negatively affected many other areas of my life, such as business, hobbies, sports and personal relationships.
A few years ago the Lord revealed to me that I had made this damaging inner vow. Since then the Holy Spirit has led me to spend much time breaking it through spiritual warfare, including the deep groanings of self-travail. Over and over I have confessed spiritual truths about being excellent for God, such as “I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” I thank God that Jesus loved me so much that He became a curse for me so that I could be free. The vow has lost its power over me. I am free to be excellent for the Lord. I too have come out of prison.
Rose: Still Sucking Her Thumb at Twelve
Negative vows we make in later life also hurt us, but an inner vow is one that is usually established in us in childhood. It is usually forgotten, but it continues to exert a powerful influence over our lives.
Rose was still sucking her thumb at the age of twelve. She came to us in despair. Her friends made fun of her. In spite of a great effort on her part, she could not break the habit.
The Lord revealed to us that, at age two, she had made an inner vow not to grow up. With our encouragement, she made the decision that she wanted to grow up and that she would not remain a little girl any longer. With her permission, we then broke that vow in the powerful name of Jesus. We also included a long prayer for the Lord Jesus to “grow her up” to her present age of twelve.
Rose lost all desire to suck her thumb. During the next several weeks, we saw her many times, and she was still free and experiencing an amazing growth in maturity. She had “grown up” to age twelve.
The vow not to grow up is one that a great percentage of us make. Each of us needs to express a willingness to God to grow up, and then do spiritual warfare to break this vow.
Rose, Janet, and I were dramatically changed by breaking an inner vow. Is it possible that your life also can be changed by doing the same? Do you need to come out of your self-made prison?
Earned Love vs Unconditional Love
God loves us unconditionally, just as we are, and not because of how much we pray, read His Word, fast, give or attend church. We likewise should love our children unconditionally. We should love them because they are our children and not because of what they do or become.
In most homes, however, love is given on the basis of who has earned it. If you have made an inner vow that you must earn love to be loved, you will find yourself continually striving to be good enough, to be worthy enough, for people to love you — even to be loved by God. Usually you will never feel quite good enough.
Most of us have made this inner vow, or affirmation, that we must earn love, and it is very damaging to our interpersonal relationships. First of all, such a vow causes children to strive for good grades, success in sports, music, or in other ways, to “earn” love from their parents. Secondly, once they have reached the teenage years, to be accepted by their peers, many start using drugs, having sex and rejecting God. And striving to earn love is not just a teenage problem. It carries over into later life.
Those who have this problem never feel worthy unless they are constantly doing things for others. This vow needs to be broken in the mighty name of Jesus, and our minds need to be renewed to the truth of God’s unconditional love. We are made worthy only by the blood of Christ.
In conclusion, inner vows cause many problems in our relationships with others and with God. Freedom from them is often the key to major releases. Seek the Lord for a revelation of destructive inner vows in your life, and then break them just as Janet, Rose and I did. This will lead to major, even life-transforming, changes in your life. Breaking these destructive inner vows will help you to be Changed Into His Image Through Inner Healing.”