Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”
We find that kingdom thinkers are also kingdom doers. Not only will they think of what needs to be done, but will be actively involved in seeing it done. Kingdom thinkers will be men and women of character, men and women of commitment.
When we think of character we must think about COMMITMENT.
When I look at the evangelical scene today I see a great lack of commitment. When I look at the lack of laborers out on the field especially in the difficult areas of the world like the Muslim, Hindu and Chinese world – I believe it comes back to a lack of commitment.
Where are God’s people who will go to these hard areas of the world and stick it out? We find very few who even respond to the call or the challenge. Out of those who do respond we see a great number dropping out after a short time. Often, those who make it to the field do not go back again after the first term. Why? I believe there are a number of reasons, but one big reason is a lack of commitment.
Commitment is so important. Webster’s dictionary defines commitment this way: to bring together; to join; to entrust; to give in trust or charge; to consign for safe keeping; to bind by pledge or assurance.
I commit my life to Christ Jesus. In other words: I join my life to His, I give my life to Him and entrust all things to Him for safe keeping.
The same is true of marriage. Why are marriages falling apart? I know that we often hear of incompatibility, mental cruelty, etc. All of these things are often a camouflage for the real culprit that tears the marriage apart; which is usually a lack of commitment.
When we commit our lives to the Lord we are committed to His will. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word then you are my disciples.” The word “continues” brings out the idea of commitment. John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.’”
However, we also need to think through some of the ‘reasons’ why we break our commitment.
1. It wasn’t quite what I felt it would be.
This is one excuse that I hear quite often with people who break a commitment. Perhaps we didn’t count the cost.
Luke 9:57-58 “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'”
When Jesus laid down the terms of discipleship he did not hear from these would-be-followers again.
2. We don’t have a mind to suffer.
1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”
This is part of our armor and is as essential to us as the armor we read about in Ephesians 6.
Because we do not have that mind-set or mentality we see that the enemy gets in and hits us just where we do not want to suffer. Consequently, we go about seeing what we can do in order to break our commitment.
A young lady joined Doulos, one of our OM ships, for two years when I was the director. She had been very active in her church and had a responsible job. When she was on the ship she had to wash dishes. Every night when she was in her room she was complaining about her dish-pan hands and that she did not join the ship to be a dish washer, etc. One night while she was complaining to the Lord about her hands, how red they looked, etc. and thinking how she might be able to get out of her commitment, the Lord spoke to her and said: “Look at my hands.”
That was a turning point in her life. She realized how the Lord had suffered for her. She armed herself with the right mentality and stuck it out. She became one of the members of our line-up team who have the big responsibility of going ahead of the ship and lining up the ship’s program, a job that carries much responsibility. It is a job for people with commitment.
3. Wrong ideas of what it means to follow Christ.
We seem to think that in following Christ there will be no problems. We do not understand how the Lord builds character in us. It is not that we do not have problems, because we do and always will. As a matter of fact, we probably have more problems in following Christ (because Satan is against us in doing this), but we also have solid solutions to our problems. And this is what makes the difference.
There is a tendency to think that when following Christ, if things are rough and don’t seem to be working out then it must not be of God. It is this type of thinking that leads into many erroneous ideas about discipleship.
How do we interpret Hebrews 11:35-38? “Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
What about these people mentioned here? Didn’t they have a commitment of faith? Did they believe God for deliverance? Yes, they had faith. As a matter of fact, they probably had more faith than most Christians. Here we see what real Biblical faith is. Biblical faith takes us through the problems for the good results of God’s purpose. This is what commitment is all about.