Commitment. Is it a forgotten value? Many express commitments, but how many follow through? Companies, politicians, the media, people making New Year's resolutions, all talk commitment, but are they only empty promises?
Promises, promises. Talk is cheap. Words are many, actions are few. However you express it, rhetoric and rants fill the air, but not resolve.
Resolve is the root word for resolution, "I resolve to...." Resolve, resolution, commitment, whichever term is used, is a promise requiring action. But what's the basis for making such promises? This is important.
The "C" word
The "C" word, that's what I called it. At the beginning of each new year, I'd craft a message on commitment. Each message was framed within the current need of the church in view.
Throughout most of the 80's, I challenged those I pastored towards some commitment. It became something we joked about, "oh no, the 'C' word again!"
It was joked about, but understood. Each of us in the church, including me, knew we needed to be challenged, reminded of our commitment to follow Jesus.
When I moved overseas, my challenge was directed towards pastors and leaders to study, preach, and teach the truth of God's Word. Later, I challenged my staff and students in the Bible college. I also challenged myself.
Over the years, many of these messages and challenges focused on the importance of God's Word, the Bible.
[bctt tweet="Resolutions are promises that require a commitment to action"]
A spiritual famine
When I returned from the mission field in 2005, I saw a great need in the church. I didn't have the same opportunities to address this need, as I had while pastoring and as a missionary. So I addressed it within a much smaller circle of influence.
Still, the need grew. It continues to grow. We are moving ever closer to what the prophet Amos spoke hundreds of years ago—
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it." (Amos 8:11-12)
How would this be possible with so many biblical resources available today? We (Americans) are awash in study Bibles, devotionals, study guides, conferences and workshops, small groups, and mega and home churches.
[bctt tweet="We are rich in resources and Bible knowledge, but poor in commitment"]
We are rich in resources and Bible knowledge, but poor in commitment. We lack commitment to walk in the truth of God's Word. Let's face it, we're more talk than follow through.
We don't need to be more articulate and erudite in Bible knowledge. We need to live the truth of the Scriptures out in daily life.
- Live out the truth whether people notice it or not.
- Live it out so it transforms our life from the inside out.
- Live it out even when it doesn't meet the expectations of others.
- Live it out even when it costs us something to do so.
[bctt tweet="We don't need more articulate and erudite Bible knowledge, but to live it out"]
How? Each believer needs to take personal responsibility for their own life.
Don't blame the church, the culture, pastors, anyone, or anything else. Each of us need to commit to seek the Lord, understanding His Word, and living out our faith each day.
Back to basics
What do you think is needed to make this kind of commitment? What does real commitment need to be based on?
In sports, when a team is making careless mistakes or playing without focus or passion, it's said that the players need to get back to the basics. Practice of simple, but essential fundamentals.
I believe this is true for Christian believers, pastors, leaders, and the church as a whole. But what are our basics? What are the essentials we need to put into practice?
[bctt tweet="What are the essentials Christian believers need to put into practice?"]
Over the next few weeks, I hope to explore some of these essential basics. I gave a hint above for the essential I'll focus on first. But what do you think?
What do you see as essential to live out the Christian faith?