This weekend we attended a conference called “Higher Calling.” I loved the name….what a wonderful thing to focus on….going higher and deeper with God. There were many times this weekend I was challenged in my walk with God. I love to be challenged. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I am to proud or lazy to realize that there are things in my life that God wants and needs to change.
But at the same time I don’t want to be convicted by a message, make commitments to God to change and then walk away and go back to the same way I was before the meeting.
In my walk as a Christian I have come to realize that commitments to God are a very serious thing. It is so easy for me to go to conferences, camp meetings, church, etc. feel inspired and convicted, to repent, to commit to do better, and then go back into the “real world” and slowly (or quickly) lose everything that God taught me. When I make a commitment to God I want to be sure that I am going to keep it. Not only is it harmful for me when I go back on my commitment to God, but it also hurts my relationship with Him.
Have any of you as a daughter/sons been promised something from your parents and they never followed through with it? Did that strengthen your relationship with them? Or did it hurt it? When as I child I would be promised things and sometimes they wouldn‘t come through. With every promise I got a little more sceptical until I finally got to a point of saying, “Ya right, I will believe it when I see it!“ Can you imagine if God felt this way about us? Are you characterized by making promises to God then leave the encouragement/excitement of a meeting only to go home, face reality and after a few days, weeks or months forget all about the commitment you made and go back to the way things were? I know I have. My heart breaks when I think about how God feels when I do this. How it must break His heart!
The other day I was reading a parenting article and they were talking about how important it is to keep your promises to your children. They said that if you would sit down and ask your child if there was a time that you promised something and didn’t follow through that they would not only be able to tell you what the promise was, but every detail around it. This is why as parents we have been very careful about the promises we have made to each other and to our children. I could probably count on one hand the times that I have made a promise to my family. It is a concept we take very seriously and we train our children to do the same. We only make promises if we know, that we know, that we know that we are going to keep them. We believe a promise/commitment is a serious thing to God, and so it should also be a very serious thing to us.
So what do promises and commitments to God produce? They produce fruit. Let’s say I hear a great sermon on joy and choosing like Paul to “be content in whatever state I am” and I make a commitment to God that I am going to choose to be content in my circumstances. Then I go back to my everyday life at home and a few days later I find myself whining to everyone about how crummy I have things, and how bad it is, etc……..what good did that commitment do? Now I am not saying that I will not make mistakes. I am saying that I better be crying out to God for forgiveness when I mess up. And over time I better be able to say that I are making progress in this area.
Our commitments are more than just words to God, they are something that need to be taken seriously and should produce fruit. If your parent made you a promise and then the day the promise was to be fulfilled they came to you and said, “Will you please forgive me, I know that I made a promise to you but I made a mistake in my scheduling and have something that I cannot get out of. Would I be able to make it up to you next week?” Now if this is something your parent has done only once or twice, you would probably believe them and trust their word. I know I would. If I know someone is making an effort to change, it is easier to forgive them. But if that same parent over time has done this again and again, promised, apologized, not followed through…..promised, apologized, not followed through…..it would be very hard to believe that they are serious about their love and their relationship with you. I believe it is the same way with God. He wants to see effort and progress in our lives….in our promises/commitments to Him. He wants our commitments to be real, not just words.
So even though I had a great time at the conference this weekend, the true test of how good it was for me will be if I am, in the next days, weeks, months and years, still living the things I learned and committed to God. Will I be bearing good fruit in this area of my life. Will others see a change in me? And most importantly will God believe that I meant what I committed to Him? And will He be able to trust that I am telling Him the truth the next time I make a commitment to Him? I hope this will be the case, with the help and grace of God, I pray this will be the case.