Are You Wholly Committed to God?

My generation and even more so the generation coming after me has commitment issues.

Take marriage as an example. The Sacramento Bee, which is a newspaper in California, reported that nearly half of all Californians 18 and older are currently not married, and of those currently not married, nearly 35% have never been married. Comparing these numbers to 1960, we see that 26% of Californians were married and only 13% had never been married. These numbers are on the rise.  It has been estimated that in next 5-10 years, there will be more people who are unmarried than married in California [1].

While these are statistic for California, this trend is occurring all over the nation. People in my generation and the generation after me just aren’t getting married. One of the reasons for this trend, certainly not the only reason, but one of the reasons for this trend is our issue with commitment.

But it’s not just that we are afraid to get married. Nowadays it is difficult to find anyone who has worked for a company longer than 5 years, attended one church most of their life, or even someone who has lived in the same town. We not only lack relational commitment but job, church, and geographical commitment as well. We have commitment issues.

We aren’t to hold back with God

When it comes to our relationship with God, however, we aren’t to hold back. We are to commit ourselves wholly to Him. In verse 1 of Genesis 17, God comes to Abraham and asks him to do two things – (1) to “walk before him” and (2) to be “blameless.”

When God tells Abraham to “walk before him”, what He means is that every step, every action that Abraham undertakes would be done with God in mind. The second idea — that Abraham would be “blameless”— re-enforces the first. In order for him to be blameless before God, he must completely and without qualification, give himself over to God.

God, then, is essentially asking Abraham to be wholly committed to Him. To give all of himself over, not leaving any part back. God wants it all – His job, family, leisure time, money, and sex life.

God expects the same from us. He expects us to be wholly devoted and committed to Him. Which means we can’t section off or compartmentalize our life. We have to give God our whole self.

It is difficult to give God our whole lives

For a generation struggling with commitment issues and one that is accustomed to holding things back, giving it all to God is difficult. In reality, giving our whole self over to God is difficult for anyone, not just my generation. We don’t want to give up control over our lives. We want to be able to call the shots and have options. But God asks, and even requires us, to give up control and commit ourselves fully to Him, if we are going to have a relationship with Him and experience the blessings that come from that relationship.

How do you know that you are wholly committed to God?

To help you figure out where your commitment lies, I have listed three questions below for you to reflect on.

(1) What do I prioritize in my life?

To figure this out, all you have to do is look at the things you spend your time, money, and energy on.

When your time is crunched, what gets pushed to the side? Is it more likely to be your Bible or is Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, or some topic you are researching on the internet?

When you get your paycheck, what do you spend your money on first? Is it your tithe, missions, or something else kingdom related? Or is it something for your home, a trip to the movies, or a day at Six Flags? In other words, how do you plan your budget? Do you give God what’s leftover or does He get your firstfruits?

What do you devote most of your energy to throughout the week? Is it the advancement of God’s kingdom or your own kingdom?

All these are good questions to ask because your priorities are often revealed by what you spend your time, money, and energy on.

(2) Where do you turn when you are facing issues at home, work, or church?

Do you turn to the Bible or human wisdom? If you turn to the Bible, are you willing to allow it to direct and guide your decisions, even if it is unpopular or will require  sacrifice on your part? If you are wholly committed to God, He will be the first place you turn, and His wisdom will be the wisdom you follow.

(3) Do you just say you know God or do you obey Him?

John says in the second chapter of his first letter,

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:” (1 Jn 2:3–5)

Those who say they know God without obeying Him aren’t wholly committed to Him.

Question for Reflection

  1. Are you wholly committed to God or are you holding something back?

Resources

[1] http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article60699136.html

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Post adapted from my recent sermon: Are You Wholly Committed to God? which you can listen to by clicking here.

How Our Generation Can Learn From the Older

Old Man Legs

What does it take to learn from the older generation? How can our generation be taught by the previous? These are questions our generation should be asking and answering.

Recently, I posted an article entitled: A Call to Maturity: How the older generation can train the youth of today. One of my readers asked if I would write a follow up post discussing how the youth of today can learn from the older generation. I have given that question some thought over the last week. What follows are a few suggestions.

How Our Generation Can Learn from the Older

(1) Be open and teachable

A learner is someone who is open to learning. If you are to be taught by the previous generation, you must be open to them speaking into your life, which means you must be teachable. While self-esteem counsellors have puffed us up, telling us we are the smartest, most talented generation yet, we’re not. Actually, we have a lot to learn, and those who have come before us have a lot to teach.

(2) Look for those who model biblical manhood and womanhood.

Instead of finding your role models in pop culture, you should look in your church. As you do, look for those who model biblical manhood and womanhood. Ask questions like: Are they kind and respectable? Do they live according to God’s Word, even if it could impact them negatively in the community? Do they love their spouse? Do they serve the church and community?

(3) Look for those who are accessible. 

While you may learn a lot from your favorite podcaster or blogger, chances are you don’t have direct access to them. But you do have access to the faithful saint sitting next to you in the pew on Sunday. While they may not be as famous, they are accessible and most likely able to teach you just as much, if not more. So instead of looking global, look local.

(4) Ask for advice on decisions

One way to start a mentoring relationship is simple to ask for advice on decisions in your life. Don’t assume advice will be handed out unsolicited. Instead, ask for it from others, and then ask again.

(5) Work toward maturity

If you are not working toward maturity, you will not be interested in learning how to be mature. Actively working toward maturity in Christ is a necessary part of learning from others.

Question for Reflection

  1. What would you add to this list? How would you counsel the youth of today to learn from the older generation?

Resource

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How Can Husbands Love Their Wives Self-Sacrificially?

The Bible calls husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially. In Colossians 3:19 the apostle Paul writes,

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Col 3:19)

And again in Ephesians 5, comparing a husband’s love to Jesus’ love of the church, Paul says:

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Eph 5:28)

We could explore other passages, but you get the point. The Bible is big on husbands loving their wives.

The Type of Love

The type of love husbands are to have for their wives is a self-sacrificial love. We know this because the Greek word behind love in these verses is agape. Agape, in Greek, denotes a self-sacrificial love. It is same love Jesus demonstrated when He went to the cross for our sins, sacrificing Himself for us. Agape love then is a love that gives rather than takes. It is a love that sacrifices.

How do we love our wives in a self-sacrificial manner?

(1) We love our wives self-sacrificially by not being harsh with her.

In the second half of verse 19 in Colossians 3, Paul specifically commands husbands not to be “harsh” with their wives. When I first read this, I didn’t fully understand what Paul was saying, so I did some research into the word “harsh”.  I found it means that husbands aren’t to make their wives bitter or resentful because of unfair or abusive treatment. Instead, husbands are to treat their wives fairly, not using or abusing them. As well as husbands aren’t to make decisions or perform actions that would make their wives resentful.

What are some things that might make your wife resentful?

  • An unwillingness or not offering to help with the kids.
  • Not abiding by the family budget.
  • Going off with your buddies all the time instead of doing things with the family.
  • Glueing yourself to the TV instead of helping out around the house or talking with your wife.
  • Caring or ministering to others whenever they ask, but not setting aside time to do so for your wife.

(2) We love our wives self-sacrificially by leading in a non-selfish way

Being the head or the leader of your household doesn’t mean you always get your way. That’s not how Jesus leads. Since we are modeling our love and leadership after His, we should act as He acts. When Jesus came it wasn’t all about Him, instead, it was all about us. Remember, He left His heavenly abode, took the body of a man, gave up His rights, and His life for us.

We are to do the same. We are to give up our rights for our wives, sacrificing for them, instead of always demanding our own way. When we do that, we are loving and leading in a non-selfish way.

(3) We love our wives self-sacrificially by seeking to build her up in the Lord.

Husbands are to do all they can to promote their wife’s well-being and sanctification. Marriage, then, is about more than fulfilling our own sexual appetites. It is about us working to build up and sanctify our wives, washing them with the Word of God, in order to ready them to meet their heavenly husband — Christ.

(4) We love our wives self-sacrificially by providing for her physically and emotionally.

As a husband, we are to make sure we are doing all that we can to provide for our wife. Certainly that means we are to make sure her basic needs are met. But our wife’s basic needs are just one area for which we are to provide. Along with providing physically, we are also to provide emotionally. Men, including myself, often miss the mark on this one. I believe that is because it is easier for us to spend our energy working than it is to spend our energy talking, listening, and drawing our wives out. But if we want to love our wives as Christ loves the church – self-sacrificially – we must provide for both her physical and emotional needs.

Question for Reflection

  1. What other ways can a husband self-sacrificially love his wife?

Resources

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Adapted from my sermon A Wife’s Submission and a Husband’s Love