In order to stay committed and to keep commitments, in order to finish strong by Staying in the Boat until we cross the finish line, we need to focus on full commitment to God. We must be constantly reaching toward the Great Expectations He has for us with regard to commitment. His way is the only way to truly stay committed.
The Bible gives many examples of individuals who stayed committed to God and as a result kept their commitments to themselves and others as well. Their stories and lives provide terrific lessons we too can apply in our own struggle to stay committed.
Your commitment does not depend on the honesty of others. (Joshua 9)
Joshua made a mistake trusting the Gibeonites, yet he still kept his promise to them because he knew how God felt about keeping your word. Their being deceitful had no bearing upon whether or not Joshua kept his commitments even though doing so still had significant consequences.
Just because your circumstances change does not mean your commitment should. (Daniel 6)
Daniel showed commitment to God over a lifetime. His life spells out the most important aspects of keeping commitments: Extraordinary spirit, faithfulness, living according to God’s will, praying continually despite consequences, living under God’s protection & affecting others through commitment.
Moses stayed committed to God even when he most likely faced tremendous peer and cultural pressures. Let’s be clear that scripture does not say he had peer pressure. We are making a pretty safe assumption based on the corrupt culture of the day and the fact that it had probably not rained since creation (Genesis 2:5-6). Moses kept to God’s instructions regardless of the influence of the surrounding culture or of his peers.
How you feel has nothing to do with whether or not you keep a commitment. (1 Samuel 1:11, 24-28)
Hannah was infertile and had prayed that God would open her womb and allow her to have a son. She then promised that son would belong to God “all the days of his life.” If you have children, remember back to before you had your first child. Did you even come close to imagining the depth of love you would have for him/her? With that in mind, do you think Hannah’s heart was breaking when she gave her son to the Lord while he was still very young? But she kept her commitment to God anyway regardless of what her feelings wanted her to do.
Making your life line up with God’s will sometimes means fulfilling back commitments. (Philemon)
Onesimus was Philemon’s slave who had escaped. He became a Christian, and Paul sent him back to Philemon to keep his commitment. Sometimes, we have back-commitments we’ll have to keep when we get right with God in any area of our lives.
You can still keep your commitments when others release you from them. (Ruth 1:16-18)
Ruth was under no obligation to keep her commitment to Naomi, her husband’s mother. Yet, she made the decision to stay with Naomi and never deterred from that decision. God blessed Ruth for her devotion. He blessed her for making a decision and following it all the way through totally and completely.
God Himself provides the perfect picture of commitment.
God has kept and/or is keeping His commitment to Israel (whole Old Testament), to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3 & Nehemiah 9:8, 23), and even to Satan (Genesis 3:15; 1 John 3:8; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26) just to name a few of the big ones. God was and is faithful to the unfaithful, rebellious, doubting & wandering.
He made His commitment to us before the world was even created. (Matthew 25:34), and His commitment to us shows we can trust Him. Likewise, when we stay committed, we build trust with God and with others.
DISCUSSION: What other biblical examples of commitment can you think of? Which one do you connect with the most & why?