I’ll start by saying this: I love my wife.
Honestly, she is very easy to love. I love spending time with her, laughing with her, and making her smile. I love holding her hand, walking beside her, and yes – kissing her. I love her! But how do I know that I love her and am not just infatuated with her? One, because I feel incomplete when we are apart. Also, because in the hard times, sad times, and even when we disagree – I still want to be with her. It’s not just about the laughing, kissing, and holding hands. It’s about our commitment to each other no matter how we feel at the moment.
Commitment – the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.
Commitment will cause us to do things that we would not otherwise do. Its the glue that holds us in a relationship when everything in us wants to pack our bags and leave. Its what keeps us going back to the office each day, even when we would rather…. not. Its what makes us keep teaching our children good values even when it seems like the world is screaming the exact opposite. Its what causes us to keep serving God, even when we feel like we can’t go another step.
Serving God and making the right decision is not always easy, is it? Its not that we are unsure what to do, its more putting what we know into practice that gets us. Paul said it well in Romans…
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” (Romans 7:15 MSG)
He knew what was right but he struggled to put it into action. I find myself in the same predicament and I’m sure many of you share my and Paul’s frustration. So, what is the answer?
Commitment. Just like with marriage, commitment to Christ will cause you to keep going even when it seems impossible. When you think you’ve fell one too many times, you remind yourself of His love for you, and you keep going. When you don’t understand why God has allowed something to happen in your life, commitment causes you to trust that He has your best interest in mind. You know He will be with you through the trial, even if you have to endure it. When you disagree with an answer that God has given you, you don’t walk away from the relationship. You stay put and know that His heart is pure and His intentions toward you are always for your good, not to destroy you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
In our Christian walk we will experience awesome times of joy and laughter, feel intimate encounters during worship, and sometimes even feel like Jesus is walking right beside us. But there will also be times when we don’t feel those things, and in those times we’ll need something more than infatuation or just “really liking” God. We’ll need commitment.
Love is much more than just an emotion.
Photo by Mr. Topher in Creative Commons, Flicker.com
This is very true! He will always give us strength when we are weak! Joy, when we are discouraged! A lasting humongous hug when we feel lonely!
-The Lord has actually been putting these three C words in my mind; commitment, confidence, and courage! (Those are the qualities I’ve thought of that make up a warrior)
Commitment, Confidence, Courage – I like it!
Rick, another beautiful message you’ve written here!!
It reminds me of John 6, when Jesus had just preached a sermon requiring the maximum commitment from His followers.
Up until then, many of them were following Jesus for the selfish reasons… because He fed them and Healed them, and He was the greatest show in town.
Then, Jesus said to them, “If you’re not willing to eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have no part of Me.”
Of course, He didn’t mean that literally, but the message is clear in its context… Jesus was saying, “This is a two way relationship. I’m laying my life down for you, and I’m going to give my life as a ransom payment for your sins and the sins of the world… and I’m asking you to give your lives back to Me. I’m asking if YOU followers are willing be committed to this relationship on the same level that I am committed.”
John 6:66 records their response to this sermon, that many of them were not happy with this sermon… “at this point many of His disciples turned away and no longer followed Him.”
You’re so right Rick, there comes a point in each of our lives (many times) when we must decide if we are going to be like those who follow Jesus only when it’s convenient and obviously beneficial… or also, when we too will be required to lay down our lives for the sake of His great cause.
I’m all in, and I can tell that you are too. I’ve lived in this world for my own pleasures. I still remember the days before Christ when I only cared about living my own life, my own way. I still remember what it feels like to exist without the Holy Spirit living in my heart, without the Bible and prayer, without salvation, and without the Church… knowing deep inside that I was spiritually dead and separated from God. I also remember February 17th 1991 at 10:15pm when Christ came into my life… and I was born again. I remember the contrast between darkness and LIGHT, coldness and warmth… as I stepped over that threshold between the lost world and God’s everlasting kingdom!
I’m committed, all the way to the end of my life… no matter what that means. Thank you for this great reminder Rick! You’re a super writer!!
We can be guilty of searching the bible and only applying what seems politically and socially correct, finding some it’s sayings too “hard”. Only through total commitment – being “all in” – as you said, will we be made complete. I always appreciate hearing from you – thanks, Chuck!
Life is sometimes crazy and will take you for a ride,but with the love of Jesus it is going to be worth it all one day. I too am an ordinary guy that has an awesome life in christ, at times I have a sense of emptiness and distant from the love of Christ. But Hey, I just get on my knees and seek him then the holy spirit reminds me of gods love in his word and I’am ready to go. Charged and ready to fight the good fight, we just have to always remind ourselves in the word that God will ever leave us nor forsake us. I know that I love God because I think of him always and that I always want to do something that would glorify him, where he brought me from I’ll never forget and having christian brothers by your side, he makes all this crazy world seem not so tuff. God Bless you Rick and your ministry.:)
Good job Rick. I have been guilty so many times in the past of a deep like for Christ. It is so much more than that, as you said. What is going to carry us over the hump of tragedy. When Christie got hit by the car I didn’t go trade her in for an undamaged newer model, I empathized right beside her. However, many times when there is a spiritual upheaval we toss God to the curb for something easier.
We need to tighten up our game. Thanks for the reminder