Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Complete Commitment

November 24th, 2017

Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! (Psalm 118:27b ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

The phrase, “complete commitment,” is redundant. Commitment must be complete or it is not true commitment.

The passage from Psalm 118 depicts the bringing of a sacrificial animal, binding the bull or the ram until it could be offered upon the altar. Christ willing laid down His life for us, but we are to respond with the same commitment – to be crucified with Him. It is our wills that must be bound and tied – the new man in us that is made by the Holy Spirit must daily bind the old man in us, the vestige of sin, and bind him with cords until he is no more. Matthew Henry wrote:

The sacrifice we are to offer to God, in gratitude for redeeming love, is ourselves, not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), to be bound to the altar, spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be fixed and engaged, as the sacrifice was bound with cords to the horns of the altar, not to start back.

No doubt the world will seek to discourage us. It will call us fanatics, or that our devotion is too extreme. Oswald Chambers wrote well on this matter for November 24 as well. He said:

For instance, you came to a crisis when you made a stand for God and had the witness of the Spirit that all was right, but the weeks have gone by, and the years maybe, and you are slowly coming to the conclusion, “Well, after all, was I not a bit too pretentious? Was I not taking a stand a bit too high?” Your rational friends come and say – “Don’t be a fool, we knew when you talked about this spiritual awakening that it was a passing impulse, you can’t keep up the strain, God does not expect you to.” And you say – “Well, I suppose I was expecting too much.” It sounds humble to say it, but it means that reliance on God has gone and reliance on worldly opinion has come in. The danger is lest, no longer relying on God, you ignore the lifting up of your eyes to Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden halt, will you realise how you have been losing out. Whenever there is a leakage, remedy it immediately. Recognize that something has been coming between you and God, and get it readjusted at once.

That is not to say that we cannot imagine ourselves into some type of spiritual fervor – one that is man made or, worse, demonically inspired. We are taught to test the spirits for not every spirit is of God (1 John 4:1-6). The chief differences are, according to Jonathan Edwards as he applied 1 John 4:1-6:

First, God is at work when a person’s esteem for the true Jesus is raised. Secondly, God is at work when Satan’s kingdom is attacked. Thirdly, God is at work when the people come to love the Scripture more. Fourthly, God is at work when men are led away from falsehood into truth. Fifthly, God is at work when there is an increase in love for God and for man.

In other words, a person is changed from selfishness to godliness, from talkativeness and self-centeredness to a distinct Christ-focus. True revival bears the marks of genuine love, joy, peace, conviction of sin, assurance of grace, compassion for others, increased patience with others, and a love for God’s Word.

Devotion, if it is genuine, need not be demonstrative nor emotional. It must be deep and Christ centered. All genuine devotion is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Daily Devotions, Revival , ,

Living in God’s Favor

August 18th, 2017

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance, in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love, in truthful speech and in the power of God… (2 Cor. 6:2b-7a NIV)

Would you like to live in the favor of God?

Such a question entices some to think of earthly rewards and we must be clear about this, that such thoughts are very likely to come from Satan. The Bible says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15 NIV). The first trait of living in the favor of God is that it is just that – God’s favor and not ours.

So the first requirement is to be committed to His causes and to lay aside our own desires. We have a God that we may call to for our “daily bread,” who has promised to provide for “green pastures” and “quiet waters” but this is so that He may also lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We have a God who even prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies and anoints our head with oil, and causes our cup to overflow. But it is so that we may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, and not so that we may follow the dreams and schemes and values of the world.

Paul lived in God’s favor because he lived for God. We are prone to think highly of those who entertain us or move us emotionally. We will spread the word about a “Christian comedian” or a “Christian performer” who has a beautiful voice. Paul was none of these things, in fact people criticized his speech saying “in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Cor. 10:10). Yet his commendation to people was simply that he sought none except his sacrificial service.

The first requirement to live in God’s favor is to daily die to self and to live to Christ. “If any man would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow after me” (Luke 9:23). Each day our ego will rise to challenge the authority of Christ. We will be tempted every day to put our reputation ahead of His, our will ahead of His, our agenda ahead of His, our desires and goals and aspirations ahead of His. Every day we must take all of these self-centered thoughts and submit them to Christ, dying to ourselves, and taking His purpose and His life and His goals upon ourselves.

Paul lived in God’s favor because he was committed regardless of the cost. Some are committed for a while, but fall away when it gets difficult. Or they are willing to do something for Christ, but not just anything whatsoever. But Paul was willing to do whatever it took for Christ to be magnified in His life and ministry. He was not some deranged psychotic who enjoyed pain – he clearly did not – yet he was willing to do it if God would be glorified through it.

Are you totally committed? Are there limitations you have set to how far for Christ you are willing to go? Christ went to the cross for you. He had no preconceived limitations, rather He was willing to do whatever it took.

Parents do this at the birth of their child – at least the good ones do. They commit themselves in their heart, as soon as they see that little wrinkled body, to do whatever it takes for that child to live and to have a good life. How far will a good mother or good father go for the sake of their child? They will go as far as it takes, do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

Paul lived in God’s favor because he did not seek to serve God alone, but had a community of fellow devotees as well. Committed people search out other committed people, and seek to serve God together with them. Notice that he did not say “I commend myself in every way,” rather he said, “we commend ourselves in every way.” Truly devoted people lift others up, strengthen their brothers and sisters, learn from them, and love and support one another. Spiritual people are quick to forgive and restore one another. They are patient with weaknesses and maintain a positive hope for all believers.

Paul went so far as to state twice to the Corinthians that God had only given him and his companions authority for building others up, not for tearing them down (2 Cor. 10:8 and 13:10). So his approach was embracive and encouraging.

These three principles will keep us focused on the things of God: living for Him, committed to Him no matter the cost, and supportive of others.

2 Corinthians , , , ,