Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 10, 2011

"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;"  Job 13:15

It is hard to question Job's commitment. In fact, he was so committed that God was boasting on Him to Satan. Wow!

That prompted Satan to put Job's commitment to the test. And, indeed he did!

We know, of course, that Job passed the test with flying colors!

I guess if you want to learn some insights on commitment, Job would be a good one to study.

What does it take to shake your commitment? Are you committed to the death as Job was?

God allowed Satan to take everything from Job except his life. All that God had blessed Job with was stolen from him. In a matter of a few hours it was all gone. Did that shake Job's commitment? No it didn't.

So, apparently Job was not committed to God for his prosperity. And Job was very prosperous!

Is your commitment to God based on how well He has blessed you? Or, are you committed to Him with the hope that He will prosper you? Job wasn't.

Satan was allowed to inflict Job with painful sores and boils. His misery was so severe that his wife urged him to curse God and die. But in the midst of his agony, Job never charged God foolishly. He remained truly committed to God.

Are you committed to God because you need a healing? Is your commitment dependent upon Him relieving you from pain or suffering? Job's wasn't.

Job was committed to the Person of God. He was not serving God out of any selfish agenda. He wanted nothing from God except God's presence. Job knew God was a personal God and wanted to know Him in person. He was not committed to what God could give him. He wasn't committed to what God could do for him. He wasn't looking for miracles. He just wanted an intimate personal relationship with God. And since that pleased God, God filled Job with His presence and gloried in him.

Commitment that honors God is commitment that hopes in God. Commitment that God desires is a commitment that desires Him. Commitment that pleases God is committed to pleasing God. Commitment that satisfies God is a commitment that seeks Him.

Job loved God more than life itself. That is what Job was committed to and it keep him faithful through several years of intense suffering and incredible loss. Job needed God and nothing more. That is what his suffering left him with - God and little else. But he found that was enough!

It is good to stop from time to time and examine you commitment to God. It is dependent on something you want Him to do for you? Are you trying to "work" God to get  what you want from him?

If you are committed to Him for any other reason than loving the Person of God, you will never know the level of intimacy that Job enjoyed with His God.

June 9, 2011

Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”    Luke 9:62

One of the misconceptions that is doing great harm to the Faith and to the Church is the idea that there are levels of commitment. You might hear someone claim in self-defense that they are "more committed" than someone else. What they should say is that they are less uncommitted than that person. The point that Jesus is making here is either you are committed or you are not.
Claiming to be "sort of" committed is like saying you are "sort of" pregnant. You either are or you are not. You can't "sort of" sky dive. You can't "sort of" get married. Peter didn't "sort of" walk on water. Jesus didn't "sort of" die on the cross.

The challenge Jesus is issuing is this - "you can't 'sort of' follow Me!" Either you are a disciple or you are not! Either you do His will or you don't. Either you walk in holiness or you don't. Either you are saved or you aren't.

I know you live in a day and a culture that wants to nuance everything into shades and degrees. That would be fine if you were the rule-maker or the arbiter of the rules - BUT YOU ARE NOT - He is! He makes the rules and you don't. So, you either obey Him or you don't. You are either following Him or you are not. That is what commitment means!

Having grown up in corn and soybean country, I appreciate what Jesus is saying to His hearers, who were also rural folks. What He was saying was, "When you go out to plow you don't 'sort of plow', you plow or you don't!" No true farmer would begin plowing and quit. No true farmer would "sort of" plow. No real farmer would plow forward while looking backward.

In rural Indiana where I was raised and in rural Illinois where I served for 22 years, there are cornfields so huge you can hardly see across them. I have always been impressed how straight those long rows or corn or beans are. Never have I seen a field with crooked rows. That is proof that the farmers who planted those rows were committed to planting.

How so?

Farmers plant straight rows by lining up their plows and there planters with a reference point at the end of that row and they stay focused and aimed at that point. Straight rows are evidence of a committed and focused farmer. Those perfectly parallel rows are proof of a committed farmer who never looked back while he plowed!

When you think about commitment think about plowing. When you measure your commitment think about focusing on a fixed point and moving straight toward that point continually. And of course, that straight point is the way of God and the will of God as outlined in the Word of God.

There are no "sort of" committed plowers. Neither are there any "sort of " committed Christians. Either you are committed or you're not. Don't buy the lie.