Sermon, January 17, 2021
Psalm 37: 1-6
Today I want us to think about commitment, specifically our commitment to God and God’s way for us to live. So, let’s begin by asking: What is commitment? There are many definitions. However, one that might serve Christians well is this: A desire and a promise to give yourself, your time, your money, to support something you believe in which gives life a higher meaning.
Commitment is something you do with forethought, otherwise to make a commitment in a cavalier way is to fail.
What does it mean to be committed to God through Jesus, the chosen, anointed Christ? God is too big, too almighty, for us to feel like we know him. Almighty God is everywhere, all the time, filling the entire universe with a spiritual presence, the very essence of God. Therefore, we experience God in nature: sun rises or sunsets that fill the sky with brilliance, birds that fly together in preordained ways, ever available trees, vegetables and fruits of all kinds, animals to help us survive in a variety of ways. God is also experienced in moments of awe, of mystery, of goodness beyond the normal. However, God is so vast we can not contain him nor fully understand his wisdom or his ways. We only see, feel, and experience bits of his awesome majesty. We need one to follow who is both like God and like us. Therefore, Jesus, the anointed one.
God gave us Jesus to role model for us how we should live. Jesus chose not to have alternative plans or actions. He chose to trust God to lead him every step of the way….and here is the catch….no matter where those steps took him. That’s the caveat. Sometimes we might feel we can make a commitment until it gets boring, or unpleasant, or tough. But, if so, we were not committed.
Many of us want to wear a physical emblem of some sort to indicate we do love our Lord. We wear crosses or T-shirts with scriptures written on them, we carry bibles around and talk about God. But those emblems and symbols don’t necessarily say we are fully committed to God. Realistically, none of us will ever be as committed as Jesus was, and is. But we can change our ways to be more in line with God’s plans and desires for us. Toward that goal, there are stages we as humans go through as we attempt to achieve commitment...to God, to a spouse, or to a cause in life. These steps are important to know….understanding them will lead you into meeting your deepest desires for yourself.
Look at the stages we go through as we decide whether or not to make a commitment.
1. An Empty Commitment. If Jesus had made an empty commitment to God, he would have left the desert before the 40 days were up and he would have gone back to being just a carpenter settling for life outside of God’s plans for him. Jesus would have been hurt by that empty commitment, by not fulfilling his purpose in life.
2. What about A Half-hearted Commitment? What if Jesus was committed only half-heartedly? He would have done some of what God asked maybe even until the last night. But then, looking back over all the ways he had been persecuted, ridiculed, and threatened with death, he might have said, “This is crazy. I’m not going through with this. I quit.” Jesus would have been hurt. You and I would have been lost on our life’s journey.
3. Next would be a Three/Fourths Commitment. If Jesus had only been 3/4s committed, he might have watched Judas betray him. He might even have allowed himself to be arrested. But when he heard his best friend and ally Peter betray him, he just lost the enthusiasm to do God’s will. He might have walked away. Jesus would have been hurt, but you and I would have been un-redeemed. We would have been left to worship the Old Testament God who on more than one occasion seemed to express anger and punishment. He often dealt harshly with his people. Jesus, through his full commitment showed us the true God, the God of love, righteousness, forgiveness, delight, joy, peace, comfort. All the ways we experience God through God’s goodness was presented to us through Jesus the Christ’s ways and plans for all humanity.
What about us? Here are some questions for you today “Are you here for God or just for yourself? Are you here for God and yourself more or less equally? Or, are you committed, really, committed to doing the very best you can to live, that is to think, speak, and act, as though you are doing it for God through Christ every day, all day long?
Just how committed are you to God and his plan of life?
Think and pray about it this week and ask yourself if you want to be more committed or not? Then decide if you can give a bit more of yourself, your time, energy, and resources to God than you are now doing?
May you make the righteous choice, not just for yourself but also for those whom you love and love you.
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