LAY IT DOWN: The divine art of being committed
My wife Kimberly is one of the most committed people I know. I never really gave too much thought to just how committed she is until as of late. I can't really think of any time where she didn't follow through on something she had agreed to commit to. Me on the other hand...that's another story. I'm just being honest! I have been both committed and uncommitted in my lifetime.
How about yourself? Do you have any commitments you are struggling to keep? Where is it that you think the struggle comes from in staying committed? Why do you think we commit at times, to things that we really have no interest in? Or, why do you think we overcommit at times and stretch ourselves super thin?
On the flip-side, what is it that you think makes a person decide to go "all in" with things they agree to commit to? What makes a person stay committed despite challenges that may arise that would try to get them to throw in the towel and abandon their commitments?
Let's examine this together and see if we can shed some light on those things that seem to hinder us from keeping commitments and what it actually takes to give a commitment our very best.
I think there is a divine art to being committed and the cost of commitment is the laying down of things that would try to trip us up. Let me explain.
When Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, suffer death and pay the price for the forgiveness of all humanity, he had to lay down and give up everything within himself that what was seeking to keep him from his destination. Take a look at this section of scripture from Matthew 26: 36-39, "Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. ”He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Notice the language used here...anguished, distressed and crushed with grief. What if Jesus were to have given in to those things and allowed the pressure He was feeling at that time to overtake him? I can't even imagine the thought! Jesus even asked the Father that if it were possible, to take His cup of suffering away from Him. Can you recall times in your own life where you felt similar to the way Jesus felt at that time, where you were right at the brink of not knowing if you were going to be able to make it another step or another day?
When we look at Hebrews 12:2 we read the following, "....Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne."
Through Jesus present situation, when He was being beaten and ridiculed, He also had a future outlook that kept Him going. It was the fact that He was dying and giving up His own life to save the lives of others who would choose to believe in Him as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. It was the people who were going to be saved from their sins because of His death. This gave Him joy, so much so that He endured the cross, disregarded its shame and is now seated in honor at God's throne. Wow!
What kind of future might you be sacrificing by giving up on commitments in your own life?
What's the process for being committed and staying committed?
I see it this way. LAY IT DOWN! Let's look at these two points.
1) What distractions are trying to rob you from being fully committed? (Ex. people, emotions, lack of discipline)
2) Take on a future outlook and examine what things will look like in the future if you stay committed or if you giving up.
Sometimes we may find in examining these things that we require a greater investment of selflessness.
Laying down and getting rid of all the things that present distractions to us being faithful to our commitments is what we need.
We need to lay down the things that keep us ensnared and held captive and that lead to failure in our commitments. This is surely going to be different for each of us, but the process for getting aligned with being committed is the same.
When Jesus laid down His thoughts and feelings of His, "cup of suffering" being taken away and pressed through the anguish, distress and grief He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, humanity at large reaped the greatest reward that could have ever been given to us. We received God's salvation!
How many people could reap a benefit from your "all in" commitment?
On the flip-side, how many people could suffer from your failure at being committed? Maybe that's a somewhat harsh way of putting it, but sometimes we need to hear things that way. I'm no different than you, at times I need to hear it that way.
Who is depending on your commitment right now, a spouse, your children, your clients, your employer, your students?
I'd like to lead you in a simple prayer to close out this post. Be encouraged, no matter how far any of us may have drifted in being committed, we can always turn around and make a change.
Pray this prayer with me.
"Lord, please forgive me for not being committed in ways that I should have been in my life. Please give me strength and help me to be disciplined in being faithfully committed to the things that I am responsible to be committed to. Thank You! In Your Name Jesus, Amen!"