Thursday, September 9, 2010
The Commitment to Christ Goes Deep
Conviction comes without warning.
I have been on vacation this week and have had the time to read. I never have this much time to read when I am at work. I believe my work ethic is actually weakening my own spiritual walk. I believe efforts to do the ministry are actually keeping me from the ministry. I believe I am holding onto the world through the church. I believe I am not living up to the commitment I made to Christ when I came to know Him.
Salvation is free but it also requires total commitment. While there is nothing that I can do to earn my salvation, there is a required action to take hold of that salvation. This has nothing to do with earning that salvation. It is an act of faith.
Christians are not perfect. They still do things they shouldn’t. They sin. This does not negate their salvation. It seems hard to understand that a Christian can give himself totally to God and still sin. They seem to be incongruent. One should preclude the other.
Therefore, giving oneself to God must be a commitment rather than a completed action. It is much like a marriage. The wedding represents the commitment that the couple makes toward each other. The way they live together after the wedding is unequal to their commitment to one another. It takes a great deal of forgiveness to make a marriage work. It is always ongoing. The commitment must remain the same throughout their lives or the wedding is merely a ceremony. Their failures represent their continued fallen nature even though they have been made new by their commitment to each other. Their forgiveness and continuing commitment represents their original commitment. It later not only makes a marriage work but it is the marriage.
Trying to hold onto the world while remaining a Christian resembles trying to remain a person who seeks his own satisfaction while being married. The married individual likes the benefits of the marriage but still seeks to live as if he is single in respect to his own wants. The spouse is merely a convenience rather than the object of a commitment.
Christians often live like those who do not know Christ with the exception of their attendance at church and their admission that they are Christians. They want the benefits of being a Christian but lack the true commitment that makes them Christians. Their efforts to live as Christians come from their own flesh rather than an empowerment of the Spirit. They have lived lives of trying to please God by making their flesh more alive than by crucifying the flesh.
I am convicted that I have lived without a full commitment to Christ. I have been trying to please God through my flesh rather than by fully giving my life to Him. I believe I have always held something back rather than giving Him my all. I have made the utmost effort to please Him as long as I could hold back something in commitment. I have known others who were no more or less committed to the Lord than I who are very successful in the ministry. I have believed that I did not have to be any more committed than they to be just as successful.
God will have none of this watered-down faith in me. God has a deeper, more fulfilling success for me than to be recognized as successful by other worldly Christians.
There is only one answer for me. I must cry out to God rather than make another superficial commitment. I must ask Him to help me let go of myself and the world. I must, as He did, seek my own cross. I must be crucified. I will never see the things God has for me in the state I am in.
I am under this conviction. I asked the Lord about others who seem to be so successful. He told me that this was none of my business. I was merely to follow Him.
Am I alone in this or is God bringing others under the same conviction?
Luke 9:23 (ESV)
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”