by Dr. Ken Matto
One of the most absent virtues in the modern world is commitment. As modern humans we are trained to look out for Number One thus reducing our desire to be committed to something unless it benefits us. We see marriages end in divorce because the commitment made at the altar was nothing more than words and platitudes which were meant for the time they are being said. We see people leaving jobs for the slightest excuses, friends abandoning friends, family members abandoning family members, and many other situations where commitment could be a binding force which could save a situation or a marriage.
That is the scenario out in the world and we expect worldly people to lack commitment where they do not feel they will benefit. But what can we expect from the Children of God in the area of commitment. As believers we should always check our commitment levels to see where we are and if others can count us as faithful. A committed Christian is one who entrusts their entire being to the Lord Jesus Christ regardless of situation or result.
Unfortunately we see a lack of commitment in the church. This applies not only to those in the pews but to those in leadership also. It is a shame that church leaders would rather throw a true believer out of the church than sit with them and try to get to know them. Leadership must be as committed to their people as the people are to them. This is why in many companies good employees will leave because management no longer commits to their people.
As Christians we need to be people of commitment. Since we are in the flesh it is impossible to be committed to everything under the sun but wherever God has empowered us and placed us, that is where we are to remain faithful. For example if God has given you the gift of giving, then commit those funds to faithful ministries. If God has given you children, then commit to raise them in the fear and nurture of the Lord. Commit with what you can, when you can, while you can. I would like to share 5 Biblical principles that tell us why a committed Christian is a conquering Christian:
1. Views Hindrances as Opportunities
(1 Cor 16:8-9 KJV) But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. {9} For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
If there is one thing which characterizes Christianity, it is the opposition you will receive from both unbelievers and believers. The Apostle Paul was in Ephesus when he chose to stay there because he viewed Ephesus as an open door of ministry. Paul did not view his adversaries as someone to run from instead he saw them as a mission field. Paul had a strong desire to spread the gospel wherever he was. He felt himself a debtor to all people everywhere even though he knew he would rejected by the vast majority. (Rom 1:14 KJV) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. The word debtor means "one who is obligated." Paul knew he was obligated to spread the gospel even to the lowest level of society. Isaiah was another one who had the clarion call on his life but God warned him directly that he was going to be rejected yet God commanded him to tell the good news to Israel. (Isa 6:9-10 KJV) And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. {10} Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:9-10 are very interesting verses because if you hold to the free will idea of salvation, then it would be disturbing that God is literally preventing mass salvation.
Paul viewed Ephesus (which means desirable) as a wide door of opportunity. The word "great" is the Greek word "megale" which means "large." It comes from the root word "megas" which we get our word "mega" from. Paul saw the souls of many wandering in darkness since Ephesus was the central place for the worship of Diana. When he spoke of a door he realized there were only two doors on earth, one to heaven and one to hell. Today we see the door to hell being made wider and wider and there are more churches as portals to hell than portals to heaven. (Isa 5:13-14 KJV) Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. {14} Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
When we read the account of Paul’s tribulations in Ephesus in Acts 19 we also notice amid those tribulations the Word of God was prevailing mightily (Vss 18-20) and nothing could stop the Word of God from getting to the elect. In our own lives whenever we hit on opposition, it means Satan is angry that we are invading his territory and he likes to enflame his people to oppose the true gospel. Paul deeply invaded the territory of Satan many times and it almost cost him his life, until his ministry was done, then it did. Commitment is the essence of seeing opposition as opportunity, no matter what the cost.
2) Lives a sacrificial life
(2 Cor 12:15 KJV) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
There is no way a person can live a committed life unless there is sacrifice. Basically, a committed person is living the exchanged life. A committed person is willing to give themselves to others for a cause. The word "spend" in our theme verse for this section is in the future tense and Paul is willing to sacrifice his future for the furthering of the gospel. Sacrificial people are motivated by love and true biblical love does not necessarily shed tears every time they give a tract. The toughest people I know are those who follow Christ into the roughest parts of town to bring the gospel, but that is not the only way a person can sacrifice, there are other ways such as teaching, preaching, buying bibles, supporting a missionary financially, supporting a ministry, counseling people, bible studies, etc.
Unfortunately many hold to the idea that unless you go do ministry personally, then you are really not sacrificing. There is an interesting passage in 1 Samuel 30:24 which negates that idea. (1 Sam 30:24 KJV) For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. Here is a principle taken from David’s defeat of the Amalekites. Some of the wicked men who went with David did not want those who did not partake in the battle to share in any of the plunder. David would have no part in that and told his men that all would share equally. This principle is a good one to present to those who think they are amassing great rewards in heaven, when God gives the principle here that all true Christians will share in the reward of eternal life. The behind the scenes Christian worker will have the same reward as those who are in public ministry.
In our theme verse, we read that the Apostle Paul was loving the Corinthians yet he was not receiving love in return. This is the essence of a sacrificial life, you cannot expect to be loved in return instead arm yourself with the knowledge that you are going to be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12 KJV) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. The word "persecution" means "follow after or pursued." You will be pursued by both believers and unbelievers to try and discourage you but a sacrifice is dead to self. When we read about the sacrifices in the Old Testament we read they were killed first and then placed on the altar. This is what God has done with us, He has killed us or made us dead to the world and alive unto Him, and then placed us on the altar of service. (Gal 6:14 KJV) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. We keep on doing our ministry and leave the results to God.
3) Accepts the Position God puts them in
(2 Cor 12:7-10 KJV) And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. {8} For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. {9} And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {10} Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
A committed Christian will learn to walk in the parameters of their weaknesses. A committed person does not use weakness as an excuse for non-involvement instead they learn their limitations. It is learning and using what you can do and not what you can’t. Here Paul is teaching us about his thorn in the flesh which continued to hawk him throughout his ministry. This was not a disease Paul was speaking of but instead these were the Judaizers who were following him around and refuting the gospel he was teaching. The Judaizers wanted to bring people back under the law again.
Paul also knew that when he was weak, he was strong. This gives us a distinction between human effort and God’s strength. At the times we are the weakest we can count on God making us the strongest and glory to God for it. The buffeting that Paul faced was a constant thing. Wherever he went to preach he faced much opposition and God does not remove the opposition, instead he grows us within the context of the opposition. God will always grow His children in the face of adversity whenever we respond properly to it. We can throw our hands up and walk away or face it and grow. Every believer has a thorn in the flesh, the one who opposes their true ministry. We overcome the thorn in the flesh by the power of God alone.
The thorn in the flesh is not a sickness because that would not follow Paul’s thinking. In 2 Corinthians 11, he details his list of situations which he faced for the sake of the gospel. Why then would he complain and ask God to remove a sickness in the next chapter? He was asking God to remove those who oppose the gospel so it would have free course but opposition is always attracted to the truth.
4) is a separated Christian
(2 Cor 6:14-15 KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {15} And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Whenever we speak of the separation of the believer, we speak of this in three parts. One must be separated in mind, deed and word.
MIND - (1 Cor 2:16 KJV) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. The believer has been given the mind of Christ which means our spiritual minds must be in concert with the sending forth of the gospel. Our minds tend to focus on earthly things and sometimes they must because we still live in this world but we must always filter our thoughts through the mind of Christ which means we test our thoughts against Scripture
DEED - Another area the believer must be separated in is deeds. This means a true believer must never marry an unbeliever. It also includes going into business with an unbeliever as a partner or forming any type of partnerships in any arena with an unbeliever. Our daily habits must also be separated unto the Lord. We are never to retaliate or plan the harm of another person as the world does or be prejudice against a person. Sometimes we are born again but our habits are not.
WORD - (Mark 16:17 KJV) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Our words must also represent the regenerated life in that we should always speak words without double meanings, threatenings, innuendoes. etc. Our speech must be controlled so we do not bring disgrace to the name of Christ. We must keep our words in concert with the new tongues we speak in contrast to the old tongues which were programmed to the world system.
Always keep in mind this principle when dealing with commitment. An unseparated Christian relinquishes both the power and authority given to us by God. An uncommitted Christian will have no power in their life to carry on the Christian walk. We cannot grieve and quench the Holy Spirit and expect to walk a committed walk.
5) is a spiritual warrior
(2 Cor 10:3-5 KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: {4} (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) {5} Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Notice in verse 4 we see that spiritual warfare is not conducted in the flesh. A spiritual warrior is one who sees beyond the flesh. (1 Sam 17:26 KJV) And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? David did not see the army of Israel as a political army, instead he saw it as the army of the living God. David saw his army as being the representative of God on earth. This shows how spiritually tuned David was as he saw beyond the flesh.
Every true spiritual warrior knows their arsenal is in Jesus Christ. (Phil 4:13 KJV) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. We can fight no spiritual battle without the Lord Jesus Christ. Joshua’s army went against AI without the Lord going before them and suffered the death of 36 men. If we are to remain strong in the Lord’s army then we need to call upon the Lord to lead us in battle and not wait until we suffer spiritual defeat. The true spiritual warrior projects victory and dispels the reasoning of man. The world will always have an excuse why you can’t but God will always lead you to where you can. Our spiritual might comes from the Lord Jesus Christ alone who gives us the victory.
Living the committed Christian life is not an easy thing as it requires us to evaluate where we are in our Christian walk. As we go we must make adjustments, which means adding things and subtracting those things which hinder our spiritual growth. Commitment requires an all out effort, for what type of commitment would it be if it were only half-hearted?  (2/25/01)