Enduring commitment - Day Three

Wednesday 9 July

David Parker is the Lead Pastor of Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Southern California.  From Monday 7 July to Friday 11 July he will lead the morning Bible teaching sessions at the New Wine Ireland Sligo Summer Conference.  Here we bring you summaries of each message!

We are talking about following the call and command of Jesus as His disciples, as His sheep following the good shepherd.  We are talking about the challenge of being tough minded and soft hearted (being shrewd and innocent).  This continual process of engaging with God and engaging with the world by choosing compassion.

This morning we are talking about commitment.  Today people are increasingly commitment-phobic.  Adolescence used to start at 13 and end at around 16 / 17 but now it starts at 10 and ends at 40!  People are reluctant to grow up.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) , Jesus takes the most basic of human commandments (do not murder) and says you should not find your commitment to that law when your hands are around someone’s neck.  You need to start much earlier.  Back up.  Start following God’s commands before you  reach the point of no return!

People are walking away from marriage because the failure rate is high and they are afraid of that life-long commitment.  What will hold us together?  Jesus speaks against the casual nature of commitment where the Jewish law gave a man the right to dismiss his wife for any reason (even for burning the meal!).  Jesus confronts that head on.  We need to look at commitment differently

Then it gets really interesting. He talks about vows. You pledge yourself based on something more valuable than you (e.g. the gold in the temple).  Jesus says, “Stop doing that.” 

"Let your yes be yes and your no be no." This is the essence of entering commitment: that we would have an enduring “yes” and an enduring “no”.  The way we approach commitment is so important. 

There are different things we are committed to. 

  • We are committed to people
  • We are committed to tasks
  • We are committed to causes

People’s identity is not formed by external factors of race, background or environment.  Fundamentally a person’s identity is built by their commitments.

The foundation of who you are is poured into these commitments.  Good parenting at its essence is our commitment to our children… providing encouragement, comfort and urging children to live worthy lives.

The commitments we make shape us.  We need to make commitments that are:

1) Open-eyed

Uncertainty undermines commitment.  We face the uncertainty of life with courageous and healthy commitments, these commitments need to be open-eyed, not based on fantasy.  Too often people are committing to what they imagine rather than what is.  So many people enter the commitment of marriage on a false basis. 

2) Will-driven

We enter into commitments “will-driven” not "will-surrendered".  I choose this. The commitment God is asking from you is your commitment of will to embrace His will.  Jesus prays, "Not my will but yours."  That is healthy commitment. 

 3) God-directed

Our commitment to God is supposed to reinforce our other commitments.  The Bible talks about our job… “Do all things as unto the Lord.”  Work full out because you are committed to God. We dream and think about how can God’s kingdom come and His will be done because we want God-directed lives.  They are going to be lives of commitment. 

4) Iron-gripped

Sometimes commitments are not just up to us but as far as it goes with us, we want to take hold and not let go because that is the way God is committed to us.  God’s commitment to us in unbreakable.

God who has an iron grip on your life… wants to help you to create the true identity you have as a child of God.