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There's an old saying that "commitments lightly entered into are lightly broken." Most of us would have to admit that we've seen the truth of this principle validated in our own lives. At some point, we've frivolously "backed out" of things we impetuously "jumped into." We've learned, perhaps the hard way, that commitments should be taken seriously and that the good things in life come to those who keep their word even when doing so may be hard. The fickle and the faithless don't have anything close to the quality of life enjoyed by the trustworthy.
When Paul was writing to his young coworker Timothy, exhorting him to be strong and remain faithful to his charge as an evangelist, he said, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:12-14). What was Paul's point? Was it not that, in having publicly confessed his faith in Christ, Timothy had pledged himself to be faithful? "Timothy," Paul was saying, "you have publicly gone on record as promising that you'll never betray your commitment to Christ. Therefore, see that you keep your promise!"
In obeying the gospel, we make a most serious commitment to obey God -- not just today, but always. In each step of obedience -- our belief in Christ, our repentance from our sins, our confession of faith, and our baptism into Christ -- we are promising that we will always be loyal to our new Lord. And Jesus asks nothing less than this kind of binding, permanent commitment. In fact, He went so far as to say, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:62). Those are serious words indeed.
To be converted to Christ is to make a commitment of faithfulness to Him. This week, let's ponder this point and deepen the level of our commitment to live as the people of Christ. Let's be willing to make a commitment to Him -- and then make it stick.
Monday: Galatians 2:20
Key Idea: Acts of obedience to the gospel mean little if no commitment to Christ is made.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Paul mean when he said, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"? How determined and decisive is this kind of obedience? Can we serve two masters successfully? Consider Mt. 6:24.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:5.
Tuesday: James 2:19,20
Key Idea: Saving faith involves a commitment to what we believe.
Questions for Family Growth: If we aren't willing to commit to what we know is true, is our "faith" any better than that of the demons? What does it mean to say that someone has become "unfaithful"? If someone "breaks faith" with another person, what does that mean?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:6.
Wednesday: Acts 26:19,20
Key Idea: Genuine repentance involves a commitment to change our ways.
Questions for Family Growth: According to this verse, what three things are a part of obedience to the gospel? How do you think each of these is different from the others? How do they show that repentance is more than simply a passing mood?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:7.
Thursday: 1 Timothy 6:12-14
Key Idea: Honest confession involves a commitment to be true to Christ.
Questions for Family Growth: What effect does making a public confession have on the keeping of our commitment to Christ? Consider Jesus' statement in Mt. 10:32,33. What does Hb. 4:14 say we should do with regard to our confession?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:8.
Friday: Romans 6:2-4
Key Idea: Scriptural baptism involves a commitment to walk in newness of life.
Questions for Family Growth: Would a person's baptism mean anything if he had no serious intention or determination to live for Christ from that point forward? What does it mean to obey the gospel "from the heart" (v.17)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:9.