Hey everybody, long time no talk! I have been extremely busy living life to the fullest. I got married, my wife and I got a puppy, and I started a new full time job as a patient care tech – all while still going to school full time. Sounds like I got a lot on my plate right? Sounds like I am living life right? Well, I am here today to say I have not been living the way I was supposed to be living. To explain why I said this, I am going to tell you a little story:
My school requires me to go to chapel every other week. This week, in particular, the speaker was going to be the chaplain from the USC Gamecocks (BOO! GO TIGERS)…. anyway, I was going to skip but my friend convinced me to go and, boy, did I need it. He walks out on the stage just bouncing all over the place. Long story short, he says he is going to talk about 4 chairs and how everybody is in one of these “chairs”.
- The first chair represents people on fire for God. These people want to grow closer to Him and do work for the Kingdom. He explains these people are mostly new-born Christians.
- The second chair represents Christians that have become slack in their relationship with Christ. They go through the motions, but are not really searching for anymore change. They are not growing closer to God.
- The speaker, then, skips over the third chair and goes on to the fourth. The fourth chair represents those who do not believe in God and simply refuse to believe in Him; they often choose not to believe because they see the people in the second chair as hypocrites – who tend to do more sinful acts such as premarital sex, or getting drunk, or etc.
- The third chair represents people who say they are Christians but have not actually accepted Christ as their Lord and savior. And the funny thing (read “sad thing”) is that it is almost impossible to differentiate between the second and third chair.
After this, I felt this weird feeling tugging at my heart. The chaplain has an alter call for anyone who believes they are a third or fourth chair. About 30 people went down and he promised they would be talked to about accepting Christ. Then he said if you are a second chair, then you need to get down on the floor and pray – and that is all I could do. I felt like for the last few months, despite all the wonderful things that had happened, I had neglected my relationship with Christ and my commitment to Him and our relationship.
The first time I talked to Zach was over the phone and in regards to this. It was a pleasant change of pace to work alongside someone. The first thing he asked me was, “What do you think is the most important aspect when it comes to living life?” To which, without hesitation, I responded “Commitment”.
My reason for this stems from an understanding that, as humans, God has blessed us with a similar- though very limited in comparison- intellect to His own. We have been made in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and therefore, we bear similarities to Him in all our beings; except for our sinful nature of course.
In the book, Mere Christianity written by C.S. Lewis, one of the first points brought up is how humanity has something unique that separates it from the rest of the world. A choice. Unlike other laws of nature that we can’t disobey (like gravity, for example), we can choose whether or not to obey the Law of Right and Wrong.
I brought that point up to say that we can choose.
Knowing is 00.00000001% of the battle
“12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. 16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.”
– Romans 2: 12-16 NLT
Everyone knows right from wrong. If that were not the case, and there was no sort of common sense embedded in all of us, then there would be no order and no way for a just and righteous God to judge the world.
With all this in mind, the question remains: What does any of this have to do with commitment?
Glad you asked. Commitment is a choice to follow through with a decision, along with the actions to make the goal become a reality. Commitment is everything. Following through with something is in fact what living consists of.
Simply put: If you’re not committing, you’re not living.
You see, people like to think that there are many ways to live life. And technically they are right. However, there is only one way to live life, fully – and that is to live it for Christ. And, just as David was talking about with commitment, it is our commitment to Christ and His work that we must focus on.
However, we must not confuse our commitments to Christ, as commitments to religion. In Operation Screwtape, a book on spiritual warfare told from the viewpoint of how demons should attack Christians, it says:
“In trying to keep Him at the top of their agenda, they lose sight of the One as Life. They conceive of Him nothing more than an important commitment.”
This relates directly to the second chair Christians. They are committed to the religion, but their relationship with God has come to a halt. They still play in the band or go on the mission trips or even lead a small group but they, themselves, are no longer growing and are no longer transforming.
Commitment is the most important aspect of life when it comes to Spirituality, Physical Wellness, and Mental Health as well! The greatest thing we could learn and show is love. But it is easily forgotten that love itself is a commitment! It’s not always easy! But our actions and choices should clearly reflect our decision to love, regardless of whether or not the other party deserved it.
If we indeed are committed to Christ, our actions should reflect a submission to His teachings. Committing to His ways means having to give up our desires and humbly accept His will and not our own. It may not always be pleasant, but it is biblical. We commit to Christ because He first committed to us. (See Luke 22:41-45 and Matthew 26: 36-42.)
Our lives have to be focused on the One that gave us life, and that is Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And for our spiritual life to flourish, we also have to take care of our bodies.
I know we have talked about this before, but for me, I firmly believe that we need to focus more on proteins and fats; and, eliminate bread, rice, potato, pasta, and sugar. The breads make you sluggish and unwilling to do a lot with your life, while the proteins and the fats give you the energy you need to focus your attention on your relationship with Christ to truly help you live life to the fullest.
In this area, commitment means giving up the temptation to consume whatever it is that is destroying your health. Some time ago, I took a challenge to follow in Daniel’s footsteps (from the Bible) and eat only food that God’s people could eat at that time – while also refusing meats and processed sugars, flour, etc.
I needed to find other ways to consume proteins and had a diet rich in beans and nuts, while still receiving proper amounts of other food groups. I quickly realized how much self-discipline goes into this!
Committing to not eat what was all around me was difficult. We don’t realize just how dependent we are on certain things, until we live without them. But on the flip side, I’ve had so much more energy and have even lost almost 20 pounds whilst maintaining my health!
This also requires a commitment to a consistent exercise regimen. Eating healthier has also given me the energy to be able to consistently exercise longer and harder than I was previously able to. This just required commitment.
Why is it so hard though? Being committed to God also requires us to take care of the bodies we live in. They are not our property. We can even bring glory to God by taking care of ourselves. A lot of what we eat and have readily available to us, we don’t need. We can give it to someone who does need it!
On the mind side of things, we need to be cautious. I am sure you have all seen the thing on Facebook discussing how people with higher IQ’s tend to be lazier. Education is important. But we should use what we know to finish more things efficiently, not to finish the same amount of work quicker. We are to build up the Kingdom of God and that work is never finished. Therefore, we can never get lazy in our pursuit to live life the way we were always intended too – in a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no barrier that cannot be overcome, in Christ. I’ve met with people previously dealing with substance abuse. One of them was my own dad. He always used to tell me about how he struggled with alcoholism in his youth and the reason he adamantly stayed away from it was because he knew he liked it. He was committed to changing his ways and moving on from something that had control over him.
This commitment required a mindset of knowing and not underestimating your enemy, and thus, choosing to run from it. There have been other cases when people have been miraculously freed from a previous addiction and chain, but the common denominator in all of the stories I’ve heard and witnessed, is that they couldn’t do it themselves. Though they had the desire to be free, they needed to make a commitment to something greater that gave them the ability and courage to be truly free.
I’ll end with this: back when I was in high school (which, believe me, wasn’t too long ago) I took a class that had a whole unit on wilderness survival. we would read stories and have military personnel walk in and share personal stories of surviving. The point that they all strived to teach us, was that the most important tool isn’t a fire, or a knife, but a will to live – a commitment to make it back home some day.