Thanks-living in Commitment

I am not a fantastic sports fan. I claim loyalty to the Packers but to be honest, I couldn't even tell you the names of three players. I don't know much about the team and watch maybe two games a year - the Superbowl being one of them because, hey, it's the Superbowl. There is one Packer shirt in my wardrobe - a Favre jersey that I've had for as long as I can remember. I have been to two games in my lifetime but usually I'm more concerned with avoiding "Packer traffic" if I go to visit my Wisconsin dwelling family.

Sorry, Pack, I like you and will always cheer for you, but I'm a bad fan.

I am a great fan, however, of my favorite TV show. I can tell you the names of the cast and at one point in time I could quote the first four seasons of the show almost verbatim. Two shirts representing favorite episodes reside in my wardrobe. A character bobblehead graces my desk at work and a show poster hangs on the wall of my cubicle. DVD sets of seasons 1-5 sit at the ready and the series has a permanent place on my Netflix list. Sometimes I think in quotes from the show. You can often hear me quote the show in everyday conversations (followed by asking my husband and family to "name that episode" - they love that game). When it was still on TV, Thursday nights were all but dedicated to watching the new episode.

You could say I'm committed to my show. And I bet there's something you're just as dedicated to yourself.

Thanks-living in commitment looks a lot like being dedicated to your favorite sports team, TV show, hobby or person. Commitment takes purpose. You don’t truly commit to something by accident or on a whim. Going into a commitment halfheartedly is a pretty surefire way to prove disloyal in the end. So how can our faithfulness to our favorite things translate into a wholehearted faithfulness to God?

Commitment takes time - special time that we have to set aside. If I'm not really into the Packers I don't even know when they play, much less stop what I'm doing to watch the game. But my favorite show is a different story.The time in my schedule doesn't just happen - if I'm really set out to do something I have to block out time to do it, or it won't get done. Our spiritual lives need the same attention but in an even more avid way. We need to be willing to put in the time and energy needed to spend quality time with God. This is not easy. I still struggle with this every day. It's not easy to set aside something fun or even something that needs to get done in order to spend time in the Word or in prayer. What can we do? Keep at it. Pursue that time like you'll never get it again. And remember that God forgives you when you forget. God is merciful when you put something else ahead of Him. But he does want your attention. He wants time with you. He wants special time just with you - and you don't have to get your act together first. God will help you do that and He'll help you set aside time with him, too. God is patient and committed to time with you. 
"But as for me, it is good for me to draw near to God; I have made the Lord God my refuge and placed my trust in him, that I may tell of all Your works." Psalm 73:28

Commitment takes investment - a submission of our time, skills and resources to the object of our dedication. We pour into what's important to us. That's why we buy "our team's" merchandise. It's why we block out the hours to watch the episode or game. It's why we volunteer to coach the kids or teach Sunday school or help our neighbor with a project. When it's important to us we happily give our time, our skills, our money, our stuff. Do we invest in our faith like we invest in the other important things in our lives? It's not always easy to write that check or say yes to helping at church. It's not always a priority to open my Bible or fold my hands. Living like Christ, thanks-living, takes time I don't want to spend, skills I don't want to share, resources I don't want to give away. Thankfully, God knows how hard it can be to invest in our faith and he's here to help. God invests in us - in small and big ways - every day. His best investment was giving up his Son to gain an eternity with us. Every day God shows us how much he loves us and how he's with us and working in our lives. Open your eyes and watch for him. Learn from him. Ask him to help you see and appreciate his investment in you. Ask him to help you invest more fully in a life with him. 
"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32-33

Commitment takes intentionality - a purposeful drive to learn more, be better and grow. Closely related to setting aside special time for the important things, we're intentional about these things. We put thought into them. We plan out our time. We might make lists so things get done. If we're thoughtless or careless with these important things we could miss out or effect someone else's experience. We make sure we're on time for the game. We read up on our favorite show. We prepare for the lesson. How can we be intentional about our faith lives? We keep working at it. We ask God for the desire to grow closer to him. We trust that he will work through what we do to help us learn more about him. We take advantage of the opportunities he gives us to become a little more like him each day. And when we fail every day? God's there again to forgive and change us. We can't be committed to him without him. We need our hearts and attitudes changed. Only God can do that. Only God is intentional about doing that in us.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

Thank God he isn’t committed to us the way we’re “committed” to Him. He's the perfect example of purpose, intention and investment in commitment. We tend to sacrifice time with God to make room for other things. He sacrificed His Son to make room for us in eternity.

Thanks-living in commitment - what does it look like for you?


A Wife Like That

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