Committing to Christ
Previous lessons in this series emphasized two critical
steps: a) clarifying your values and b) identifying your
God-given make-up, your shape, toward maximizing your life.
But they're absolutely worthless unless you take the third
step, committing your life to Jesus Christ, which is the
focus of this lesson.
Now we live in a time when our society fears commitment.
Robert Bella, sociologist at the University of Southern
California, wrote Habits of the Heart. He said, "Americans
are committed to nothing. If we're committed to anything
it's individual freedom and keeping our options open." Now
the problem with that is where it leads. If I don't commit
to anything, then I'm not going to get anything out of
life. It's like going down a cafeteria line and saying,
"Well, I'm not going to choose my entree right now, I want
to keep my options open. I'll wait on the vegetables. I am
going to keep my options open." By the time you get to the
end of the line. You don't have anything on the tray, and
that's what happens in so many lives.
Earlier in this series, we said that maintaining a focus is
essential to the maximum life by not wasting time on things
that don't matter. The key to focus is commitment. The
number one thing necessary to living a life that is really
full is to commit your life to God's will through his son,
Jesus Christ. Paul said in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you
brethren to present your bodies as a living sacrifice which
is your reasonable service (spiritual service-ASV)." Now
hear me, when I say, "Commit to Christ," I'm talking about
more than a decision. I'm talking about a commitment.
Many of you have made a decision about Christ, but I think
it's fair to say that there are many of you who have not
really committed to Him. You want the salvation that He
offers, but you're not sure you want the lordship that He
demands. That's what we're talking about with
We need to commit our life to Christ because:
1. It is part of God's plan for our life.
"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to
do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to
do." (Ephesians 2:10) There are good things that He
created us to do. Notice "We are created (how?) in
Christ Jesus to do good works." In other words, apart
from a genuine commitment to Christ, we will never
realize life's maximum purpose, our potential until
that commitment is made.
2. I'm grateful for my salvation.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:9 [Jesus] saved us and called
us to a holy life, not because of anything we have
done, but because of His own purpose and grace. I need
to give my life to God because He's given His life to
me. Amen? God made the ultimate commitment when He took
on the form of man and came to earth to die on that
cross for us as the perfect sin atonement. It's pretty
obvious, but at the same time extremely powerful.3. God promises to reward that commitment.
If God never did another thing for me, never blessed
anything else in my life, never answered another
prayer, never gave me another morsel of food or never
said another kind word my way, I owe Him my all right
now because of what He did for me on the cross. Paul
writing about His own motivation in 1 Corinthians 15:10
stated, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and I
labor more abundantly than they all-yet not I, but the
grace of God that was with me." I commit to Christ
because I'm grateful for my salvation.
If I'll jump in, I mean if I'll really jump in, He'll
reward that commitment. Look at Luke 6:38, many
consider this verse to talk about giving money, but it
really refers to all of life. "Give, and it will be
given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken
together and running over, will be poured into your
lap." Matthew records Jesus stating about the same
thing "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and all these things will be added unto
you." (Matthew 6:33)Resistance to commitment to Christ:
Those are just two of dozens and dozens of fantastic
promises in Scripture where God says if you'll just put
your life in my hands, I'll bring you blessings and
benefits you can't even imagine-if you'll just trust
me. The more you commit to me, the more I will
accomplish through you.
Are those not good reasons; are those not great reasons
to commit your life to Christ? I can't think of any
better reason. So immediately somebody says, "Why
doesn't everybody do it then? Why doesn't everybody
commit to Jesus?" Everybody doesn't really commit to
Christ because of the resistance to commit, three of
which are discussed below.
1. Nearsightedness- failure to take the long look.
We don't look 20 or 30 years down the road, much less
from an eternal perspective. We just tend to live for
now. C. S. Lewis wrote something excellent in one of
His books, "We have the wrong view. We tend to think of
ourselves as human beings who have a spiritual
dimension, when in fact, we are spiritual beings simply
passing through the human experience." He's right. The
big picture is, I'm a spiritual being, and I'm going to
live forever somewhere. But, sometimes we get
nearsighted and just see ourselves packaged in the
flesh. Nearsightedness keeps our focus on what's the
easy thing, what's the fun thing and what's the
convenient thing, ignoring our long-term values.2. Selfishness - thinking only about self.
Jesus said '"But the worries of this life, the
deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other
things come in and choke the word, making it
unfruitful.'" (Mark 4:19) Our Lord hit the nail right
on the head. We focus on the urgent, not the important.
We lose sight of those real values that we evaluated in
the "What Are My Values" lesson. We stopped asking,
"When I'm 90 years old and looking back, what is it
that I most want to have done? How do I most want to be
remembered?" All we think about is now. We don't
I love the story of John Skulley. In the mid-70s, he
was the president and chief executive officer of Pepsi
Cola. He became president at age 34. He had his face on
the cover of every major magazine. At age 42, he was on
top of the world making more money than he could ever
spend if he doled it out every second. A fellow by the
name of Steve Jobe had started up a fledgling little
computer company called, Apple Computer. He had taken
it about as far as he could take it. He knew this man
John Skulley was the man who could take it to heights
as yet unperceived. He begged, and begged, and begged,
and begged him to come, but Skulley was making too much
money. Finally, in a New York penthouse, he looked at
John and he asked him this fateful question: "John, do
you want to spend the rest of your life making
sugared-water, or do you want to change the world?"
That did it. It broke him out of his nearsightedness,
and he did take Apple Computer to unprecedented
But there are heights beyond computers. The apostle
John said in 1 John 2:17, "The world and all its
passions and desires will one day disappear, but anyone
who does the will of God will live forever." We've got
to get over that nearsightedness to commit.
Many millions of people build their whole world around
themselves and they don't have time for God. I don't
have time for God; I'm too busy with my career. I don't
have time for God's purposes in my life, I've got
places to go, people to see and things to do. I've got
dreams, I've got plans, I've got ambition. Now these
are people who are in essence saying, "Now God, I know
more about my life than you do. I know what's going to
make me happy, I know what's going to fulfill me." But
God says, "No, you don't. I designed you and I built
you. You think you know, but you're blowing it."3. Fear.
Some of you read Calvin and Hobbs, the cartoon in the
newspaper. There was one I saw some time back that I
thought was really cute. Calvin was looking at Hobbs
and said to him, "I'm at peace with the world, and I'm
completely serene." Hobbs said, "Well, why is that?"
Calvin said, "Well, I've discovered my purpose in life,
I know why I was put here and why everything exists."
Hobbs said, "0 really?" Calvin said, "Yes, I'm here so
that everybody can do what I want." Hobbs said, "Well,
it's nice to have cleared that up." Calvin said, "Yes,
and once everybody else accepts it, they'll be serene,
We laugh at that, but there are a whole lot of Calvins
in the world. The world revolves around them. Once
everybody else figures that out, they'll be serene,
too. But when you live for yourself, you have a pretty
small goal in life. But Jesus said as recorded in Mark
8:35, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will
Among those who have not yet really committed their
life to Christ, pure and simple fear is probably the
most common reason. As fears come up, we ask ourselves
questions like: What will it cost? If I really commit
to Christ, what will God require of me if I really took
His hand and let Him lead me? Would I become a fanatic?
What will other people think? Will I lose my secular
friends? Will I no longer be cool? What if I can't keep
my commitment? What if I fail?
Those are the kind of fears that keep people from
committing. Now, if that includes you and those fears
have kept you from being what God wants you to be, let
me tell you what the source of those fears is, aside
from the old devil himself. The source of the fears is
you don't understand the character of God. Either you
don't really trust His wisdom, or you don't really
trust His love. Sadly, I think for too many people,
it's the latter.
Folks, I want to tell you God is not some cosmic
killjoy in the sky waiting to deal you a bummer. He
said, "I know the plans I have for you. They are for
good, and not for evil." (Jeremiah 29:11) Every father,
every parent can identify with this. If your child was
to come to you and said, "Dad, I respect you and I love
you, you're my dad, and I want to live life the way you
want me to live it." How would you respond to that?
Dad, would you look at that child and say, "Ha, ha, ha,
0 boy, you don't know it, but you're going to be
miserable from here on out. No more ice cream-spinach,
artichokes, and anchovies for you. I'm going to break
your play station. You're going to sit in that corner
and wear a dunce cap the rest of your life and never go
out." Isn't that ridiculous? It's absolutely absurd.
Yet, that is the very concept many people have about
their life if they commit it to God. He's going to put
me through some obstacle course to make me
I want to tell you what, if my son walks up to me and
says, "Dad, I want to commit my life to your purposes
and goals, I want to be the son you want me to be." I
would do everything, everything in my power to make his
life as wonderful as it could possibly be. God, our
Father, says, "I want to do the same." That's why Jesus
said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and I'll add all these things to
Look at Psalm 37:3, "Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight
yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires
of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in
Him and He will do this:" That's the promise. I've got
nothing to fear by committing my life to Christ. Life
is going to be more wonderful than it could be
Why we need to commit toi Dhrist?
How do I respond with commitment to Christ? Obviously, if
you're not a Christian, you need to put your trust in
Christ and obey the gospel. Obviously, you need to
recognize Jesus as who He is, the Son of God. You need to
come to Him on you knees saying, "I believe that,"
confessing His name. You need to be immersed into the death
of Christ being buried with Him, baptized into Christ, for
the forgiveness of your sin. That is the means by which one
accepts the grace that God has offered. But some of you
have already done that. You've already obeyed the gospel.
You have put on Christ having been buried with Him in
baptism. Some of you assemble with a church regularly, but
if the truth is known, you've yet to really commit your
life to Christ. You've yet to really step on His power and
grace saying, "I want His way more than my way."
What do you still need to do? The first thing you need to
do is calculate. In Luke 14:25, Jesus is up front about
commitment. He said if you're going to follow me, you'd
better think about it. He said there's not a man who would
build a tower without first taking inventory of his money
and his materials. He would make sure he could finish. He's
not going to get halfway up and quit. He said there's not a
king who's not going to take care to count his own forces
before he goes to war. If he's got 10,000, he's not likely
to go do battle against somebody with 20,000. He said, "If
you're going to commit to me, you better think about it,
you better calculate it." In every commitment, there are
benefits to be had and prices to be paid. You decide
whether you're committed based on whether you think the
benefits outweigh the costs. That's it. In other words, is
the cause worth the costs?
I want you to do a little experiment. Picture in your mind
two ledgers. On one side in this ledger is the question:
What is the cost to follow Jesus Christ, because there is a
cost? On the other side of the ledger the question is: What
does it cost not to really commit to Jesus Christ? By your
response to these questions you are making a
When we commit to Christ, what do you give up?
1. The right to
I'm not going to pull any punches. Don't say "I'm
committed to Christ" if you're not going to commit. In
other words, it's no longer what do I want, but God,
what do you want? It's not what I want to do, it's God,
what do you want me to do?2. Personal
priority of your resources.
See, amazingly, the God who created the universe gave
each of us the ability to choose how much influence the
Almighty God will have in our lives. He didn't have to
do that. If He wanted to, He could have made every one
of us puppets, robots or animals, birds or fish. But He
made us with the ability to think, reason and choose.
He gave you the ability, right, to decide. So if you
commit to Jesus Christ, you're saying, "God, I'm
turning that right back over to you." Look at what Paul
said in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with
Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."
There was a commitment, and He turned over personal
Whew! That one stings! It's no longer what do I want to
do with my time, it is, God what do you want me to do
with your time? It's no longer what am I going to do
with my money, but God what do you want me to do with
your money? See, it's the concept of stewardship. When
you commit to Jesus Christ, you're saying, "I realize
that God owns everything I have and He wants me just to
manage it for just a little while for His glory. I give
up "the my and mine concept." It's God. I give up
priority of my resources, any kind of resource.
This concept was discussed in the "What are My Values?"
lesson. "For everything of the world-the cravings of
sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of
what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from
the world." (1 John 2:16) Power, pleasure, prestige and
possessions, it's not that you never have any of those
things; it's that you don't spend all of your
attention, your time, and your emotions trying to
acquire it. If I commit my life to Christ, I give up a
relentless pursuit of what the world says is important.
Now that's a pretty big price, isn't it?
When you give up your personal sovereignty you realize
you're not the manager of the universe, you're not even
the manager of your life. You're going to let God call
the shots. Give up the priority of your resources, the
chasing after the worldly value system.
When you choose NOT to commit to Christ, what do you
1. One, it costs
me God's plan for the best use of my life.
If I decide I'm not going to commit to Christ, I'm just
going to drift through life. I'll get little snatches
of pleasure here and there, but I never come close to
tapping into what God can and wants to do with my life
because that only comes from really walking hand in
hand with the Lord.
2. Satisfaction and
Those of you who are maybe advanced in years who have
never made that commitment could testify you've felt a
hollow feeling for a long time. That empty or hollow
feeling is the lack of satisfaction and joy that you
You gave up a reward in heaven, an eternity of absolute
bliss where I'll never hurt, cry, or mourn again. You
will never hear the Lord say "Well done, good and
faithful servant. Enter now into the joys of the Lord."
Once you've make that commitment, the next step is simple,
CHARGE! I mean charge, dedicate, go for it, and don't turn
back. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's
mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and
pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship."
When a pilot turns and starts a big 747 down the airport
runway, he gets to a point where he passes a point of no
return. He is getting more and more speed, either he's
going to get airborne or crash and self-destruct.
I'm afraid there are some of you who've got your engines
revving. There are a lot of other people out there who
aren't even at the airport. Some don't even know there's a
plane. Are some of you sitting on life's runway, revving
up, building up a little speed, but not enough speed to get
airborne? You've never gotten off the ground in your
relationship with Christ. You know about Him, but you've
never gotten off the ground in real commitment to know Him
Some of you may have been sitting on that runway for years,
revving your engines and saying, "One of these days, one of
these days, I'm going to get committed. One of these days
I'm going to give my life to God. One of these days, I'm
going to stop living out my plan and start living God's
plan." I really worry that someday you're going to stand
before Jesus Christ with major regrets saying I did such a
stupid thing! I invested my life, I invested my time and I
invested my talent for the wrong purpose. How I wish I
could do it over again. But it will be too late.
What is it that's holding you back from your commitment?
What is it that's keeping you on the runway, instead of
being airborne? Is it fear? Afraid of what God will do with
you? Is it nearsightedness, are you just still looking at
all these things around you? Is it just pure selfishness?
Is it a relationship? What is it? Has there ever been a
time in your life since you made your initial commitment to
Christ that you made an unreserved commitment of your
talent, your time, your treasure or your life without
hesitation or reservation. You see the real issue is do you
want to be a casual, lukewarm, Christian the rest of your
life? You can't be partially committed to Christ. The one
thing Christianity cannot be is moderately important. You
can hide, you can stay uncommitted, and basically, nobody
will know-but God knows. lesson # 1299 - February 2, 1997