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Monday: Commitment’s Call — 17 Comments

  1. What is commitment? There is of course the old illustration about someone asking a minister the meaning of commitment to which he replied, "It's just like your breakfast of bacon and eggs this morning!"

    "How can that be?" asked his questioner.

    "Well," responded the minister, "The chicken was involved but the pig was committed!"

    I hope you will forgive me for a non-kosher illustration, but we need to understand that commitment is a couple of rungs up the ladder from involvement.

    Involvement is going to church and doing religious things. Commitment is a 24/7 lifestyle.

    I think I have already told you that I used to weigh a lot more than I do now. Eventually it dawned on me that I had to lose some of it, so I went on a diet and in the space of about 4 months lost 25kg of weight. It was quite empowering and I felt like a new person. People I knew didn't even recognise me. Somewhere in that 4 months I came to the realisation that it was not just diet that was important. I had to adopt a new lifestyle, not just to lose weight but to live healthily. And it wasn't just something I was going to do until I lost weight. It had to be a commitment for as long as I lived.

    Christian commitment is not something that just involves church going. It is something that affects everything we do.

    Paul expressed the idea of commitment in:

    For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die. 21 For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet! 22 But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! Phil 1:20-22 TLB

    And Job says it succinctly:

    Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
    I will surely defend my ways to his face.
    Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
    for no godless person would dare come before him!Job 13:15,16

  2. Why did the disciples follow Jesus?
    Because they believed He was the long awaited Messiah John 1:45
    Because John the Baptist said He was the Son of God John 1:32-37
    Because they believed that He was the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams and they wanted to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven, which Jesus proclaimed. Matt 4:17

  3. it is truth christian going to church should be a life changing loving what we have learned about God and followring Jesus, and here He tell of His Father kingdom we love Him and want to sit at His feet always to listen to Jesus, the fishermen wanted to be a good fishers. but most of all was to be like there Master to be fishers of Men winning souls For God. I am a doer of what God commands Me.

  4. In regard to Simon Peter and Andrew, today's lesson states that "the reason they left their boats, occupation, and familiar surroundings to follow Him was that they sensed the call to a higher purpose." I would submit that it is unlikely that this alone was the reason they left their boats.

    In regard to Matthew, today's lesson states that "“Follow Me”, presupposes that Matthew had heard of Jesus and in his heart had a longing to follow Him." The stated presupposition is correct. This 'longing' is typically a necessary key component when a person makes a genuine commitment to significant change.

    As humans, our subconscious typically 'assesses' the costs and benefits of what we are doing. If we experience the benefits outweighing the costs, we are anti-ready to change and will consequently resist change. Non-change is the typical default of humans (under our sin-infected reality). On the other hand, when we come to experience the costs outweighing the benefits to a sufficient degree, then we become open/ready to change.
    Thus, as the lesson also stated in regard to Matthew, "when the invitation came, he was READY."

    Anyone who works in fields/professions that involve behaviour change will testify that the majority of people in general are not ready for change and are therefore instead resistant to change. This is why public behaviour change initiatives rarely work.

    I would maintain that it is not true that "deep within all of our hearts there is a longing for something more in life." I come across many people who are only looking for more self-indulgence in their life - they are not looking for greater commitment.

    Most people are not infact ready to accept a call to commitment. Hence Jesus statement in Matthew 7:6 is of central relevance to the topic of today's lesson: "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

    This is why - in the context of the parable of the banquet - Jesus realistically stated that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

    • Hello Cliff - I needed to read the third paragraph of your comments several times before I could understand your conclusion. First, I thought it to be an error, thinking you reversed your findings of the outcome of assessing benefit and cost.
      I now understand that you are taking the view of someone who is comfortable with what they are/do and assessing the 'cost' should they change it.
      You are highlighting the very problem that makes change very difficult, if not impossible for those that are still 'comfortable' with their life as it is. I consider these to be - 'sitting on the fence', nominally converted 'believers' -. They are among those who are called to 'come out of Babylon'.

      The problem of understanding your rational came from my position of thinking that the person 'assessing' their circumstances was ready to change, because they had already found to *gain a better life*; therefore ready to 'count the cost' as they determined their present life to be 'void of the most essential values' and happily giving up the counterfeit to gain the new/real/spiritually discerned life!

      As you pointed out, if a person does not perceive receiving 'good enough' benefits in exchange for their commitment to change, they *CANNOT* endure the cost it requires to change - You cannot serve two masters!
      You referenced Matt.7:6 to demonstrate what will happen to the Gospel if not fully lived in its divine application to life by the believer. God, His reputation, and integrity is being smeared by/for the shortcomings of those who cannot commit, are nominal believers and therefore trample the holy Gospel Truth underfoot as they live their non-committed lives!

      John 6:44-71 I want to encourage everyone to read the whole passage and reflect on its meaning. This passage gives evidence that it takes the Holy Spirit to lead one's understanding and to prompt the believer to commit his whole being/life to follow the Word of God as transmitted by the teachings of Jesus Christ our Savior.
      John 6:63-65 - "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE. (64)But there are some of you that believe not.

      • Hi Briggite

        Yes, 'readiness' to change is not an easy concept to explain briefly in writing - easier face-to-face.

        "...if a person does not perceive receiving 'good enough' benefits in exchange for their commitment to change, they *CANNOT* endure the cost it requires to change."

        Resistence to change (which is most typically a subconscious rather than conscious phenomenon) goes even further back than contemplation of the benefits of change. As long as a person's current way of being/doing still seems to sufficiently work for them (also a subconscious perception), they won't even contemplate the option of change.

        This is why presentation of information alone frequently fails to bring about change and why efforts to 'get' someone to change often don't work.

        Consequently, Holy Spirit conviction is first needed - as you rightly pointed out in John 6:44 and John 6:63.

        • Hi Phil - my apology for misnaming you! Yes, this phenomenon of 'not being 'willing' to change even in the face of reason', is the evidence of God speaking a spiritual language, wholly different than our material mind can understand/perceive!
          Unless God's Holy Spirit, with man's permission(willingness to yield), enables the mind to understand spiritually enowed language, the material mind stays in controll and seeks to preserve it's 'Self-will' -'self'-serving interpretation.
          It would be an interesting study to find out the dynamics of this transformation process. 🙂

  5. i have question about commitment.my question is; are this word talk about the nonbeliever to commit themselves to the lord or is it talk to us? TO commit our work to the lord to win lost soul?

    • Commitment is like marriage, first fall in love then get married which is a commitment, agreement, to only love and live with that one person for the rest of your life.
      First get to know and love Jesus, then get baptized which is a commitment to worship and serve the LORD with your whole life for ever.

  6. The author says here to "imagine being Simon and Peter." I can imagine being one of them but both at the same time? Give me a break!

    • Pete,
      Simon became Peter when he followed Jesus,
      Saul became Paul after the Damascus road experience, take your pick before or after?

  7. Hi Phil,

    As humans, our subconscious typically 'assesses' the costs and benefits of what we are doing. If we experience the benefits outweighing the costs, we are anti-ready to change and will consequently resist change. Non-change is the typical default of humans (under our sin-infected reality). On the other hand, when we come to experience the costs outweighing the benefits to a sufficient degree, then we become open/ready to change.

    Lest anyone is confused I believe you meant it the other way round.
    Benefits more than costs - good, open to change
    Costs more than benefits - bad, resist change

    • Hi Shirley

      No, I didn't mean it the other way around. But thanks for trying to help out...

      People tend to think that someone actually contemplates change and decides it isn't worth it. That happens sometimes - but it is actually more typical that people won't even contemplate change in the first instance because their current way of being/doing still sufficiently works for them 'in their own eyes' (Judges 17:6).

      Consider what many people eat in the western world. There is enough information around that certain foods are bad for us - especially typical 'take-away' foods that are high in sugar, fat, salt, highly-processed carbs and a whole host of chemicals. Yet people still eat this food regularly despite its bad effects upon their body. The feel-good taste of the food in the moment outweighs their awareness of the detrimental cost to their cellular health that they can't feel in the moment.

      • You are right, people weigh their options but very often short term benefits outweigh long term benefits.

        When people eat unhealthy food the benefit is it tastes good to them, the cost is it is bad for their body
        If they gave up eating unhealthy food the benefit would be a healthy body but the cost is not eating the food they like

  8. A modern parable: Animals & people have a tendency to follow a leader, so it is very important who they choose to follow: 20.09.22

    At least a third of 270 pilot whales stranded off the coast of Australia's Tasmania have died and more are feared to be dying, rescuers say.
    About 200 of the mammals had washed up on a sandbar near a boat ramp, while 30 others were found several hundred metres away. Another 30 were found further inland along Ocean Beach.
    Why do whales beach themselves?
    The reason is often simply unknown, scientists say.
    Around Australia and New Zealand different kinds of whales make seasonal migrations every year in pods as large as 1,000 animals.
    Researchers say they follow a leader and their strong social bonds can lead to whole groups beaching themselves.
    "It might have been a single misadventure by one or two of them and because pilot whales are such a social species, that may have drawn the other animals in," Dr Carlyon said.

  9. The Triune God consist of three beings who are all divine. While on earth Jesus was fully human and fully divine in His own right, it was not necessary or possible for the Holy Spirit to dwell in Him. There was no separation between His body and spirit. Jesus did not become our Saviour He was our Saviour before the foundation of the world.
    I don't believe in dualism, separate body and separate soul/spirit Each person is an indivisible unity of body, mind and spirit dependant on God for life and breath and all else. Just like Adam, Jesus the Creator formed him from clay and breathed/spirit in his nostrils and he became a unified living soul/creature.


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