Message: “One Scary Word” – Roy Dowdy
Sunday, June 30th, 2019
John 13:31-38 – NIV
Commitment. If words were three-dimensional physical objects, “commitment” would weigh a ton.
Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Your commitments shape your life more than anything else. Your commitments can develop you, or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you.” See, no matter what we say, no matter what kind of life we pretend to have on social media, what you do shapes who you are and demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt what you value.
Joshua 24:15 is a thread that has run through my life since before I chose to follow Christ. My parents had a wall hanging with the verse in their house for as long as I can remember, and Roy’s family used to sing it as something of a family anthem and testimony as part of their family’s ministry. The verse reads in part: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua challenges the people to consider next steps. He’s reminded them of God’s faithfulness to Israel and His powerful intervention and work on their behalf. It’s a time of reckoning – they must choose who they will serve, not because of what God has done, but because of who He is. It’s a matter of the heart. Who do they love – self or the holy God who created and sustains them? We face the same choice as believers today. Who we serve reflects who we love because every commitment has an object of affection. Just as you marry your spouse because you love them, your choice to follow God is an action that naturally flows from your heart. It’s a reflection of who and what you value.
And just as every commitment has an object of affection, every commitment is the result of trust and love in the relationship. “Falling” in love is a myth – love isn’t an accident – it’s a choice. It’s something that grows and deepens as you work at it, cultivating it, being quick to forgive offenses and quick to take responsibility for your own actions. That constant tending to your commitment as you would a garden develops trust, security, and builds a solid foundation on which all other aspects of your life and relationships can be established.
Finally, every commitment represents a challenge, hurt, or sacrifice to be made. Contrary to what culture continually tells us, “speak your truth,” “put yourself first,” “you deserve to be happy at all costs,” real, biblical commitment reminds us that we are not first. We aren’t even second. The simple acrostic for JOY we learned in Sunday School – “Jesus, Others, You” – is our model.
If you want to be successful, have a sense of purpose in your life, and know where you’re going, consider your commitment to God and His purpose for your life.
· Every commitment has an object of affection.
· Every commitment is a trust, bond or love in the relationship
· Every commitment has a challenge, hurt or sacrifice to be made
1. Read Romans 12:1-2 On what basis does Paul challenge believers to respond to God? How have you experienced this in your own life? In what ways does this encourage you in your commitment to Christ?
2. Why does Paul ask believers to “present their bodies” as living sacrifices? What do you understand this to mean? How is this an act of worship?
3. Can you think of a time in your life when you surrendered your life and future to God’s will? If so, how has that shaped your life? If not, what’s holding you back?
4. How has your family’s commitment to the Lord impacted your outside relationships?