Commit your way to the LORD;

   trust in him, and he will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

   and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 37: 5, 6

Commitment is not an easy thing to have or to receive from others. We may say that we are committed to something, to a cause or a relationship, but actual follow through on those words is something very different from the profession of that intent. Commitment means that there is nothing that will deflect or deter a person from living out the promise given. Commitment is all-consuming as it is related to the subject of that promise. God is committed to His Creation in a way that resembles how a parent is usually fully focused upon its children. Unfortunately, people tend to make promises to God and then break or redirect them rather readily and with little regard for the impact that this turning away from God’s truth and His way of living may have on ourselves, upon others, or the grief and pain that it brings to God.

Even when we are less than fully on-board with God’s standard for how people should think, speak, and act, the Lord stays committed to us. We might wander far from His righteousness and even enter into a life that is deliberately lived outside of the camp of the holy; still, Christ will continue to pursue us and call us back into living inside of God’s way of truth. Christ’s presence with us in this journey through life is a blessing, and His righteousness equates to strength for those travels. The Lord gives us the gift of clarity and understanding so that the complex issues and situations that we do encounter will be illuminated by His Word with its unceasing supply of wisdom, counsel, and truth. The qualities of Godly wisdom are too often lacking in our world’s public and private discourse; yet, their presence does bring justice and peacemaking into the conversation.

God has not designed His relationship with people to be a one-sided affair, and He does not desire to force involvement or engagement in the nature and the course of that relationship upon anyone, either. Thus, it becomes important for us to also commit ourselves and our lives to living in close and intimate relationship with Christ. Such a commitment means that I have determined that there is no one and nothing else that is more important to me than is Christ. This places the truth of God’s Word above all other forms of guidance, direction, or counsel that I may encounter or receive. This way of living constitutes a promise of myself to service to Christ and to His kingdom purposes as my primary calling in life. Committing my way to Christ establishes His way of interacting with people as my way, and it eliminates all other views and approaches to engaging with people as invalid. Christ loves all, seeks justice for all others, and desires to enter into a relationship with everyone, and as a committed follower of Christ, so should I do likewise.

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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10: 23

 

A promise is exactly that, when it comes from God. The Lord says what He thinks, and His mind is focused only on that which is holy, just, loving, and righteous. In fact, if there is one thing that I know can be counted on in this world, it is the clarity of God on what sorts of living will lead to a life that is rich and full of the grace of His presence. God’s Word provides us with a highly practical narrative of God’s will and desire for us and a telling of the way that the Lord has continually engaged with His creation in working out that will on the earth. Although there is great mystery surrounding the full nature of God, the Lord, Himself, works to reveal His nature, character, and truth to us.

 

Christ is the answer to this revelation. When we confess our surrender to Him, we enter into the hope of redemption that God has promised to all of His creation in and through Jesus. As Jesus is our Lord, He is our Savior; thus, as He is our Savior, He is also our Redeemer. A significant aspect of this redemption is found in knowledge, understanding, and the wisdom that flows out of this deeply connected relationship with God. In Christ the Spirit indwells us, and the Spirit opens our eyes so that we can see through the fog and the haze of sin into the glory of eternity that is now ours. This grants to us an appreciation for the valid hope that overcomes all of life’s challenges and trials and illuminates the sure path that we can travel in order to stay upright and true to God’s holy calling for our lives.

 

God promised His redemption to His people, and He delivered on that promise in Christ. God committed to open up the mysteries of His will to us; so, He gave His Spirit to His people. The Lord declared that He would never leave us, and He has sealed that covenant with the blood of Jesus. We enter into a relationship with our Lord by walking on the shaky feet of sinful people; then, in Christ’s strength and wisdom, we travel forth in the full confidence of being God’s beloved and chosen people. This world will throw the full weight of its confusion and chaos at us, but we can stay true to Christ and dwell in the hope of our redemption, for He will never depart from our side. This is God’s faithful and true promise to His people.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1: 3, 4

 

God is a maker of promises. He is also one who keeps them, all of them and all of the time. The Lord is completely faithful and absolutely trustworthy. This is my opinion that is based upon God’s involvement with and in my life over its entire course, and this is also the understanding of God that has been held by thousands upon thousands of other witnesses throughout history. We have experienced the presence of God in our world and in our own stories, and this real life involvement with us has been the singular thing that changed us for the good and that positively and permanently altered the direction and the nature of the lives that we lived. Yet, these promises that God makes are interesting in themselves.

 

God has made a significant number of rather specific promises regarding the way that He will engage with us and about the nature or the quality that life will hold when we follow the Lord and obey His will. However, I think that we are mistaken when we place too much emphasis and importance on gaining specific benefits from believing in God’s promises and through seeking after certain specific blessings from Him. Thus, I think that what matters most in all of this is the promise that God has made regarding His authority, nature, and character. Christ is Lord over this world, and He alone has the authority to rule it and all of its people. It is Christ’s blood that saves us from the living and the eternal death that our sinfulness has condemned us to, and Christ goes before the Father to present and to proclaim the righteousness that we have obtained by and through Him. So, the greatest promise of all and the one from which all others operate is the Gospel message of Christ’s lordship and the salvation that is ours through faith in Him alone.

 

God did not need to provide us with this assurance and certainty. This was the Lord’s gift o His creation. In setting out this commitment to us, God took us in to life within His kingdom come upon this earth and provided us with a dwelling place in its halls of glory. This is an act of trust and great mercy on the part of the Lord, for there is no other place in this world wherein a person can find love, truth, and righteousness that are pure and unmodified by the desires and the wishes of people. As we come to dwell within the borders of God’s grace, we are also given great responsibilities to carry forth. God’s promises are relational in nature, and they are intended to bring us into an ever-deepening understanding and connection with our Lord. In so doing, we are sent into our world to be people who live out the character and the nature of God in our own lives. We are to be faithful and trustworthy workers who operate out of the same love and grace that saved us in all that we do. This new and transformed life of purpose and commitment is the outworking of God’s greatest promise by which His love has been poured out upon us.

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3: 13

 

Waiting is a natural part of life. Some of us are better at it than are others. Some things are worth waiting for, too. These would include opening gifts on a special day, a long planned vacation, and God’s provision of a special person to share life with. Other waits such as that endless time in the lobby of a dentist’s office and sitting in your car on the side of the road while the police officer is writing out the ticket are less rewarding. All of us need to patiently hang in there while time makes its slow journey through our days. However, for people who know God, it seems that the hardest waiting of all is filled with the daily struggle of living in a world that is desperately broken and where vicious evil does its work.

 

We want the Lord to step in and to change it all. We can easily get caught up in the idea that there is something that I should be doing to change the way that my community, country, and our world system of governance are going. Perhaps if I prayed more, spoke out boldly, or stopped paying my taxes as a form of protest, then things would begin to change. People want answers that we can understand and that we can act upon. We seek to elect the right people to office; then, we are disappointed when they turn out to be filled with their own versions of the same frailty and compromise as were their predecessors. Nationalistic loyalty, what we call patriotism, takes over our hearts and influences our minds into believing that the answer to what is wrong with our world can be found in our particular nation’s heritage and system of government, if only our leaders would stay true to that foundational course.

 

Most of these ways of acting and thinking, with the exception of not paying taxes, have some merit. Yet, none of them will actually work to change the way that our world is headed. We live somewhere along the continuum of time that is the end of an age. This is a time when Satan and his evil are writhing and flailing about in their deathbed agony. God has informed us that during these days terrible things will happen. Natural and human caused calamity will pound our sensibilities with their relentless destruction and pain. The answer to it all is found in Christ alone. He has singularly defeated all of the evil of this world. Christ is risen from the death that Satan attempts to impose upon all of humanity, and Christ takes all of His own people with Him into that eternal resurrection. For now, we need to trust in God, follow His Word, and live in fearless victory over evil in our world. At this time, in these end of an age days, we are called upon by Christ to live as bearers of light who bring the glory of Christ into the darkness of despair that surrounds us. For we know that God’s promise of newness is true and we can abide in the peace of its anticipation.

For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8: 6

 

God made a choice; He wants to be with us. He desires our companionship and our worship. He could leave us in our lost states, and He could walk away when we start to live like the lost again; but then He wouldn’t be the one true God. For the Lord has made promises to us, and through His Word and by His Spirit He shows us a clear picture of who He is and of how He behaves. God has been demonstrating His faithful love and His unending involvement with people through all of history, and as a personal example of this, He has been holding onto me for as long as I can remember.

 

Yet, I have made a lot of choices in my life that were not so good. I continue to make choices that are clearly not in God’s plan for me, and in these sorts of thoughts and actions I have a lot of company. Everyone faces struggles like this; for, we all make the decision to sin, and it is easy to rationalize and to say that I was just caught off-guard or that it was the bad behavior of someone else that sent me over the edge. But, speaking truth, the sinful things that we do are the result of personal choice. And that choice leads to a form of death, for it separates us from God’s will and from the intimate, close relationship that we can have with Him. Isaiah said it this way,

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you” (Isaiah 59: 2)

 

Thus, when we choose to think, to act, and to live like someone who does not know Christ, we are making a decision to live in a state like that of death; yet, climbing into the coffin and pulling the lid shut simply makes no sense. God tells us that there are alternatives, and He provides us with a better way to approach life. We are instructed to set our minds so that we are steering a course that has the purpose and the precision of piloting a ship or a plane. Thus, we need to go through life focused very clearly and specifically on the presence of the Spirit of Christ and on listening to His voice. It is important to actively and purposefully do this, for it won’t just happen all of the time.

 

Each of us is different, and what works best for me may not do the same for you. So here are some of the methods that I use to set my mind on the Spirit. I can start every day by pointing my heart and mind into the center of God’s will through prayer and reading Scripture. Then, throughout the day, by entering into prayer and listening to God, I recheck where I am regarding the Lord’s will. Finally, I can choose to end each day by seeking God in prayer with my heart and mind listening attentively to His voice. The life that God wants to lead us to is full of adventure, and it will satisfy us totally. The life that my Lord has planned for me will give me everything that I desire and much more, and it is a life that is characterized by a heart-deep peace that is unbreakable. All of this is there for each of us if we will simply choose to follow the leading of the Spirit.

Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

Galatians 3: 16

 

The Lord, God is a maker of promises, and He is also the One who keeps them. From the beginning of time He has told people what He will do and how He was planning to do it. Without fail, the Lord has performed. Also, the commitments that God made with the earliest of my ancestors are ones that He makes good on with me, for God’s answer to all of His promises is found in Christ.

 

Thus, the answer to everything that is lacking in my humanity is found in Christ. The solution for my need to receive grace and pardon from the sin that separates me from God comes through Christ. He is my true lover and the One who comforts and protects my heart. Jesus, the Christ, shows me how to engage and to love the people of this world and how to care for the rest of His creation. His Spirit leads me to truth and teaches me to use it wisely and with His grace in evidence.

 

There is one and only one focus for my heart and mind to remain fixed upon, and that is Christ. When I am looking on Him and keeping the eyes of my heart centered on His will, Christ grants me understanding of His desires and direction for my life, and He provides me with everything that I will need to follow Him along that path. Christ, Himself, is the connecting point with all of the people in my life, for through Him, it is possible to actually love them to the degree that I am willing to take the risk of entering into honest relationship with them. God’s promises are great, and His answer to them, Christ, is the complete expression of His glory.

 

In hope against hope he (Abraham) believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

Romans 4: 18

 

If Abraham had lived a perfect life of quiet submission and acceptance of the promises that God had made to him, I would have a very hard time identifying with him. But he was hardly the faith in action poster child for his or for any generation. Still Paul and the author of Hebrews both hold him up as exactly that. Why? What is there that I can learn from Abraham’s story of inaction followed by impulsivity and taking matters into his own hands?

 

There seem to be two main components to the way that the events of his life play out. First, God never waivers in his commitment to Abraham; the promises that God made to him were absolute and they were permanent. Also, they required nothing out of Abraham in order for God to honor them. The Lord stuck with Abraham through all of his wandering and every moment of doubt and sinfully self determined action. Thus, God was continually restoring Abraham’s faith, for the Lord was Abraham’s only reliable and unchanging source of hope just as He is ours. Secondly, Abraham accepted the truth of God’s grace and His commitment. He kept coming back to God and seeking out His voice of truth and purpose for life.

 

My life has had far too many episodes and even periods of time where I took off on my own and decided that my way was the right way to go. Although, I have always been wrong when I have done this, God has consistently stayed with me to redirect my thinking and to pick me up when I have fallen down. Abraham was not really a special case and his situation was not all that different from those that we all encounter. Yet, as He did with Abraham, so God will always fulfill His promises to us.