I recently heard a Christian song on the radio that mentioned how God is committed to changing us to be more like Him. Wait…reread that statement. “God is committed…” Did you see it too? Yeah, the word COMMITTED stood out. I tilted my head (as I often do when a very interesting thought captures my attention) and then I turned down the radio and started to talk with God about it. I continued driving down the freeway and I reviewed what the word commitment means.
Commitment is a term that shows loyalty. Whoa…God is committed?? To us? To me? When do we ever think of God like that? We tend to view our commitment as believers through attending church, loving others, reading our Bibles and spending time in prayer with God. I don’t believe I’ve ever considered how committed God is to me. I’m sure it’s inferred in the life of a Christian, and yet expounding on the idea was intriguing to me.
Being committed means to be “wholeheartedly dedicated”. It also entails being determined to see an end result. Does that mean that God never gives up on us? Sounds like it. Let’s research this grand idea even further.
Godly marriages are the best example of people who are in committed relationships. I say godly marriages because many people can get married today and yet, God came up with the idea of marriage and He designed the institution to represent the complete picture of a union acceptable to Himself. I’m not inviting a debate on the tolerance of America’s idea of marriage. I’m simply going by the truth of Scripture. We’ve obviously seen in today’s society a lot of marriages fall apart who didn’t have God at the core of their union. In a marriage where God is reigning along with the husband and the wife, there is a picture of leadership and submission, trust, love and true completeness. The husband and wife devote themselves to each other and are wholeheartedly dedicated. Of course there are temptations and Satan desires to destroy these unions, but because God is at the center, all of his advances are thwarted. These are the marriages that represent what God designed.
Without getting off on a tangent (stick with me), I believe the true intimacy and devotion that marriage affords is a gift from God and the best marriages are those in which both parties of the covenant understand and agree to work at their union together with God’s help. They realize they cannot complete the faithfulness factor apart from God. Commitment realizes that errors are made, but forgiveness reigns. Forgiveness…ah, there’s one of those church words. What does that mean? True forgiveness is dismissing a wrong for the sake of healing and letting the Holy Spirit work in our lives to restore relationships; first with God (Mark 11:25) and with each other (Matthew 18:15-20) . It doesn’t mean the error is completely forgotten. It means it is dismissed for the sake of letting God restore and letting healing take place. Over time, the error is simply forgotten about and love replaces the anger. If you struggle with forgiveness, you are not alone. But may I suggest a relationship with the God of the universe? He is the ONLY ONE who can work out the act of forgiveness in all of our lives. Don’t believe me? Try to do it without Him. Yeah, He’s a very vital piece.
Anyway, back to my original thoughts on commitment: God in His perfection is committed at changing us to be more like Him. Let’s think about that. Didn’t He create us and allow sin to enter the world? How is it our fault that we’re broken then? Let me share with you my understanding.
God, in His great and infinite wisdom, and righteous and justified love, knew that He had to redeem us from our fallen nature and He designed the timeline for that to happen (i.e. By sending Jesus at just the right time in history with King Herod Antipas as king over Judea, by choosing the time period for Jesus when crucifixion was the method of torture and death in the Roman world, and by deciding to allow humanity to either accept or reject the truth of Jesus’s death and resurrection).
But why is He determined to change us? We’re all good people, right? We take care of each other, laugh and have fun with friends, go to work or school, obey our bosses and parents, serve on teams and committees, etc. I’m sure a few of us have helped a few old ladies across the street. So, why are we in need of being changed?
The answer is simply because of our fallen nature. We are full of sin. We cannot escape it. It is a part of our heritage and is passed down from parent to child without change. See Romans 5:12-13 and 5:18 for clarification on the Adam/Jesus parallel. Through one man (ADAM), sin is carried through the blood lines of each person until death. It’s part of our curse. And just the same, through one man (JESUS), salvation became available to all who hear and accept the word of God (in the work of Jesus on the cross). Condemnation becomes redemption…amazing!
I understand the fall, the curse and how Jesus’ death and resurrection have saved all believers. But the more I talked with God, I became aware of the thoughts of those who don’t want to be changed by God. Believe it or not, there are humans who don’t want God to be committed to them.
“But that’s insane,” a fellow imaginary believer cries out, “we need His intervention in our lives.”
And believe me, I’m with you in that thought process.
The reason these people don’t want His commitment is because commitment always requires WORK. The people who wish to overlook their fallen state look at their monetarily successful lives and see nothing wrong. They are happy and allegedly content with the things they’ve bought, the hours they put in at their childrens’ schools to look good, their comments at business meetings and church gatherings, and all the charity work they do because they want to be seen as leaders in their community, and they honestly see nothing wrong with how they’re living.
Second Corinthians 4:4 talks about how the minds of unbelievers have been blinded so they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ. From that perspective, why shouldn’t God want to change them?
And this was God’s rationalization to me. The truth is that whether we are living for ourselves or living for Him, our lives mirror what we worship. We do it on a daily basis, sometimes completely unaware. Every day your behavior tells a story. And the truth of the matter is that God wants to be included and to be part of your decisions and solutions. To say that you don’t want to be changed because your life is going along swimmingly the way you’re running it, is to say that God is irrelevant and unnecessary. You may think you don’t need God because you’re doing just fine, but that is a very deadly mindset, my friend.
And even as I write this, I will admit my struggle with some of the things that I’ve allowed to take up my time lately: anger at certain situations outside of my control, bitterness toward a certain person I will have to deal with my entire life, struggles with differences of opinion and my stubbornness, to name a few. I am a beloved daughter of God, freely accepting the grace being offered to me, and yet I still act like a child whose favorite toy was taken away. This is completely unacceptable behavior. Could my life truly be an example of a life in need of His grace? I would say so.
I accept my fallen state and that my heart is dark even as I continue to grow in the Spirit. I am coming into the light. There is a part of me that is very aware that I will struggle with sin every day of my life.
But the one thing that allows me to turn from all the pain, anger, bitterness and heartache is the truth that my Lord and Savior invites me to accept the fact that He is COMMITTED to restoring me.
He knows my desire to change, He knows my heartache, He knows my sin and still wants me to walk in the grace and truth I accepted from Him eleven years ago. He is telling me that it is a process, not an overnight ordeal, and that He is willing to take as long as necessary to change me from within.
The beauty though, is that I’m not working to achieve salvation. I have received that gift years ago and am reassured in Scripture that nothing can separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39) and no one can ever take me from His hand (John 10:28). Though I will always deal with sin, I am not alone. God resides inside of me, and He will continue to work through me, but my eternal life started the moment I accepted Jesus’s truth.
The life of a Christian is a journey. Many of us call it a “walk” because every day is another step toward furthering His Kingdom. Every person on earth is seeking answers and determining their place in this world-that goes without saying.
But to know that the Creator of the world wants to intimately know you better and that He is committed to changing you from the inside out should not scare you, but give you the love you wish. You are His child whom He loves and whom He wants to make into what you were meant to be! Apart from Him, we’ll never be acceptable to God. The sad truth is that if you do desire to be alone and to do things on your own, He will respect your wishes. Please don’t turn from Him. You are empty because you are supposed to be. Only God can complete what He originally started. Without Him, you will always feel that void.
My prayer is that you will not be a commitment phobe, but that you will take a step of faith and understand that your life is precious to God. You may already be on the path to changing other people’s lives for His glory, but you still feel empty. Accept that He does love you the way you are, but wants to make you even more. Will you let God be committed to you?
I can’t think of another way to thank Him for what He did for me at the cross, than to let Him be committed to restoring me and for me to fully give myself back to Him.