DAY 21: COMMITMENT

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Welcome to Day 21. Today we are going to talk about the last pillar of our faith, which is Commitment. This pillar is the number one issue I feel that is plaguing the modern Christian. I don't say that to sound judgmental. We all go through moments in life where we get tired; that's normal as a human. What I'm more concerned with is how culture is currently telling us the way to process the concept of commitment, which I strongly believe hinders Christians’ commitment. The thought of being committed to something in our modern-day culture is not a strong virtue. You might hear things like "If it's not working, change it" or "FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).” We live in a very rapidly changing world where we are focused on getting things "fast" and "now," or on the other side, worrying about "missing it." Although some aspects of "now" are very nice at times, there are major spiritual and mental benefits for long-term commitments.
 
The reason this mentality of "fast and now" is dangerous, especially to the Christian, is because there is a maturity process that has to take place within the believer. There is no substitute for time. You will find that scripture and the Holy Spirit will constantly challenge the inward being throughout the course of life. Our being and will (or desires) are very stubborn, and it takes time to be shaped in the image of Christ. We are shaped by our obedience to what God is calling us to do. Many times when this is happening, it is extremely tough (emotionally/mentally), because God is working things out in us. If we lack commitment in these moments because we are not seeing the spiritual results we want "right now.” we miss what God is teaching us, and it delays our spiritual maturity,
 
Scripture tends to shred and reshape our worldview in a major way. The Holy Spirit will challenge us to do things outside our comfort zone and convict us of things we need to get rid of. Again, if we lack spiritual commitment within those moments, we will find ourselves frustrated and discouraged, which will make us think this "God thing" is not working. We play an important role in our spiritual development, but thankfully we do have help to break the cycle of our sinful nature, which comes from the power of His Word and Spirit.

Abiding

As we begin to shape our understanding of biblical commitment, the word abiding is a powerful word for us to understand. To abide simply means "to accept or act in accordance with.” This word has a greater meaning for the Christian because Jesus himself used similar terminology to describe our relationship with Him. In John 15 it says this:
 
John 15:4-5  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.
 
When you think of a vine and branches, these two parts are woven so perfectly together, that they have this unbelievable strength. Since our life is 2now supposed to be hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3), we should be woven so tightly together just like a vine and branch that we become "spiritually" strong in Christ. If we are apart from Christ, we will not be able to see the blessings (fruit) of God in our lives. When I say blessings, I want you to understand that this can be identified as physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual health. God is not a genie in a bottle or a lottery ticket; He is "Abba"(father) and you are his children, and He loves us so much and wants to provide for you  (Matthew 6:26). There will be times when God answers prayers in a financial sense, but it is important to acknowledge and see the emotional, physical, and spiritual provisions He provides us as well.
 
Also, if we find ourselves apart from God, we will not be able to live out the life He intends: "Apart from me, you can do nothing.” We need to have a strong trust and dependence on God; that trust and dependence is what forms this strong bond in our relationship with God. That is why when people say they need to "fix themselves" before coming to God, this is completely backward from what God wants us to do. He wants us to come to Him first and accept Him as Lord in our lives, then through this new bond, we can start to be transformed by Him. This is possible because He now lives in us.

Remaining Healthy

How do we know we are healthy (spiritually speaking) within our commitment to God? If you think about the Pharisees and Sadducee's, they were "spiritually committed" but were unhealthy and did not really know God (Matthew 23:27-28). Unfortunately, there is a mindset (especially in the U.S.) that once I accept Jesus and get baptized, "I'm good." The reality is, we gave our lives to Christ in the form of a commitment to follow Him. I have seen this pattern within many Christians after salvation and being baptized, where they will very quickly say such things as "I don't sense God's presence" or "I don't see God working in my life." The reason this happens is very simple; they're not abiding in Him. There is no sense of commitment towards God outside just believing in Him. I have mentioned this once before, but want to reiterate that  James 2:19 says, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." What James is saying here is that real faith is demonstrated with not only thought, but action. For us to remain healthy within our commitment, action is required on the part of the believer.
 
Secondly, we must follow Jesus's example to remain healthy. In 1 John 2 it says, 1 John 2:4-6 - 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

In this verse it doesn't say, believe in God, but do whatever you please; it says we must walk as Jesus did. Living like Jesus is impossible if you are not committed to His leading and direction. This is where the understanding of abiding really comes into play, but it's equally important to identify what Jesus commits His life to. As mentioned previously, we have His Word (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit to help us. Since we have God living inside of us (Holy Spirit), we can live like Jesus, but we must engage our will to be committed to His ways. When you think of the 4 pillars we have discussed over the last few weeks (Relationship. Community. Mission. Commitment) this is actually what Jesus demonstrated for us!
 
Relationship: Jesus modeled for us the perfect example of what a relationship and life with God would look like. (Matthew 4:1, Matthew 11:27, Romans 8:11, John 5:19-20, Matthew 6:5-14, John 13:15, 1 Peter 2:21)
 
Community: Jesus established His community, which is called the church, through His disciples. The church would become a movement of people who carry the "Good News" to the world. They accomplish this by teaching and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:11-12, Acts 2:42-47, John 16:7, Acts 1:8)

Mission: Jesus had a mission to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be saved. His goal was to provide a way and restore our relationship with God the Father. (Matthew 20:28, John 3:16-17, 1 John 4:9-10, John 14:6)

Commitment: With just these few verses listed above, we can clearly see Jesus was committed to showing us how to live on earth in relationship with the Father. He was also committed to the success of His community, the church, by teaching, modeling, and by sending the Spirit of God to equip and guide them. Lastly, Jesus was committed to His mission of conquering sin and death through the power of His resurrection, to set people free from the bondage of sin.

If you take these concentrations of relationship, community, mission, and commitment seriously, there is no doubt that you will see spiritual health and growth in your life. But just as we started our relationship with God in the form of a commitment, we must remain committed to Him in these areas for the duration of our life.

VERSE OF THE DAY

Ephesians 5:8-11

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Today's Questions

Additional Resources

Book - The Pursuit of God" - A.W. Tozer : Click Here