We live in a world that is unable to commit to a person or to God. Not committing to anything or anybody is often considered ‘cool’ in this modern era.
- To define commitment.
- To provide examples both from the Bible and literature, as to the genesis of double mindedness.
- To highlight the need to persevere in this commitment.
Commitment may be defined as a single-minded devotion to or the pursuit of a person or a grand cause and the perseverance to achieve it.
The opposite of commitment could be half-heartedness or changing priorities.
Jesus’ call on our lives is exclusive and He demands commitment from us. (Luke 9:62, 11:23)
Christianity if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important” - C. S. Lewis.
The problem of Buridan's Ass, named after the fourteenth century French philosopher Jean Buridan, states that an ass placed equidistant between two bales of hay will starve to death, because it cannot choose, due to double mindedness. Indeed many are dying due to their indecisiveness.
I. "So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition"- William Wilberforce about the slave trade.
Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after the 10th defeat in his 17 year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: "Unless the divine power has raised you up... I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you?”
What are some lessons you learn about commitment from this?
II. There is an imaginary story about a cow, a hen and a pig owned by a farmer. The cow and the hen used to make fun of the pig because they thought he just used up the farmer’s resources and did not give him anything in return. The cow would say, “I give two litres of milk to my master every day.” Then, the hen would say, “I give my master an egg each day.” Then, they would both look at the pig knowing well that he wouldn’t have anything to say. After this had gone on for some time, the pig finally burst out: “Friends, let me tell you something. Yours is a contribution whereas mine is a sacrificial commitment.”
III. Santosh was a young doctor and he had a Christian up-bringing; however he had not made consistent choices that could have fostered his faith. He toyed with several philosophies and finally had reached a stage when he felt that truth about God and life was hard to come by. He liked a “nice” girl, but since he was afraid to commit himself to her they decided to have a “live in” relationship. Santosh was then flooded with many job requests and also saw many opportunities for further studies. However, he found decision making hard and often lay awake at nights, wondering what life hade in store for him.
Santosh has what many counselors call “commitment phobia”. How did Santosh come to where he is? (See James 1:8- A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.)
- What are the common obstacles to your commitment? Pilate – Mark 15:15; Peter – Mark 14:69-72; Rich young ruler – Luke 18:18. Mark 4:19.
How does one overcome them? John 15:4; 2 Timothy 1:12; John 6:68.
1. In Mark 15:15 we see Pilate pleasing others; Peer pressure-what will my friends think? In Mark 14:69-72, Peter was fearful of what would happen to him if he followed Jesus. However, perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18). In Luke 18:18 a rich young ruler was unwillingness to pay the cost. There is a cost to be paid in following Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12), but the joy is greater, Romans 8:18. The book of Revelation 2:4/Mark 4:19 highlights the gradual cooling of passion, due to the cares and deceitfulness of riches.
2. Abiding in Him (through personal devotion, fellowship, accountability/being mentored); knowing whom you have believed.