Commitment is a somewhat forgotten word and concept in the latter part of the 20th century. We live in a society where promises are made and broken in quick succession . . . where we tend to place self and convenience ahead of the needs of another person.
We seem to have developed an extra dose of selfishness and self-centeredness, and that becomes the basis of deciding whether or not we will keep our commitments. Therefore, it could be argued that people are still making commitments, but to all the wrong things. Unfortunately, there is not much difference anymore between those who claim to be Christian and those who don’t. We all fall short of the mark when it comes to making and keeping commitments.
Lewis Smedes, in his book, Caring & Commitment, suggests that if we ever trade in the power to make and keep commitments for the quick fixes of the uncommitted life, we will threaten the whole future of our society as well as that of our own lives. “We cannot survive--we cannot preserve our humanity without making and keeping commitments”.
It may be that you are contemplating going back on a commitment you have made . . .
- It could be as basic as not being there in Church to usher, teach or serve on Sunday morning;
- It could be reneging on a promise to take your son or daughter on a special outing;
- It could be as serious as walking out on your marriage;
1. God is by nature a commitment maker and a commitment keeper. He puts the intention of His heart in public (in His Word) for all to see. He says, I will stand by it . . . I will keep it-no matter what. ".... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).
2. God expects His people to become commitment makers and commitment keepers. Make a public promise so that people can hold you accountable. This could be in the area of living under the lordship of Jesus Christ, keeping your wedding vows to your spouse, or to some area of servant leadership in the Church
3. The failure to be commitment makers and commitment keepers wounds the heart of God. Israel failed to keep her commitments to almighty God. Faithfulness means to be found in continuous and ultimate fulfillment of a commitment made. The Book of Hosea is an illustration and lesson in the area of unfaithfulness. God is hurting, just as Hosea did, when we don't follow through on our promises and vows to Him and others.
Friends, if we understood how seriously God is hurt when we break our commitments to Him, we would think again before acting rashly and not following through on what we said we would do.
4. The making and keeping of honorable commitments delights the heart of God and benefits others.
Allow me to conclude with another quote from Lewis Smedes:
"Commitment creates small islands of security for us in our ocean of insecurity. Commitment creates enclaves of steadiness in the jungles of change. They give us the only human basis for counting and trusting in each other. Commitment is the invisible glue that binds a collection of individuals into a caring group. Everything depends on it; everything from a family reunion to a concord of nations, not to mention a lasting marriage and lasting friendships. All of it hinges on this thing called 'commitment'".
As God's people . . . Let us be those who swim against the stream of public opinion. Let us be commitment makers and commitment keepers!
~ Pastor Cliff Powell