Copyright 2015 AC Williams LLC

Don’t be afraid of commitment

While I was camping in the wilds of Colorado last week, I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. At home, it’s pretty easy to get out of bed, tromp downstairs to our 100-year-old home’s single bathroom, and then return to bed. But when you’re camping?

First, it was freezing. Either low 40s or high 30s, so I had lots of layers on, and lots of layers always make it more complicated to navigate when you’re bundled up inside a sleeping bag. But I didn’t just have my sleeping bag. I also had a gigantic fluffy TARDIS blanket that I’d cuddled up with inside my sleeping bag because even with all my layers on, I was still freezing. Second, once I managed to get out of the sleeping bag, I had to put my shoes on, unzip the first layer of my tent, unzip the second layer of my tent, and get up off the ground. I needed my flashlight too and my extra sweatshirt. Once all that was accomplished, I still needed to hike then 1/8th of a mile (or so) to the vault toilets.

That was just to get there. Getting back into the sleeping back took just as much work. The lesson I learned? No matter what you’re doing when you’re camping, whether it’s sleeping or cooking or walking or even getting up at night, it takes commitment, because everything you do takes 10 times the work.

Copyright 2015 AC Williams LLC

My tent set up at Happy Meadows Campground, west of Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are Colossians 3:23-24.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Our world today is scared of the word commitment. Granted, it is a scary word and an even scarier concept–to be devoted to a principle or an ideal or a person or a company. It takes a lot of trust and a lot of forgiveness sometimes, and it takes a lot of work. A lot of work.

Being committed to something, person or object, requires that you care about it more than you care about yourself and your personal ambitions. Being committed means that you’re not selfish. When you’re willing to go all in for someone or something, it means that no matter the cost, you’ll do what’s necessary.

It’s important to do what God says matters, but there isn’t really a Bible verse that says what job you should work or what career you should pursue or what college degree you should get. God’s given us each our own skill sets and dreams and desires, so we each need to do what we think He’s calling us to do as individuals. The end goal just should be to glorify Him in all that we do.

See that word? Whatever? Whatever you do, do it like you’re working for God. Whether it’s work or church or family or friends, whether it’s your relationship with your parents or your kids or your spouse, whatever you’re doing today, do it the way God says is right. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you. Maybe you think it will open you up to ridicule or make you a target. But if God says it’s right, do it. It doesn’t matter what people say.

That’s what being committed means. You do it even if it isn’t fun. You do it even if it means more work for you. It’s not about what you’ll get out of it. It’s about how much glory you can give God before, during, and afterward, trusting that the reward God will bestow is worth far much more than anything you can earn down here.

God’s looking for people who will do what He asks. You can ask questions. You can have doubts. Just don’t give up. Don’t let the amount of work facing you convince you that it won’t be worth it. God makes everything worth it.

Are you living a cheap toilet paper kind of life?

I have recently noticed something about nice hotels. It doesn’t seem to matter how expensive the hotel or where it’s located, every hotel has the same cheap toilet paper. Have you noticed?

I’ve stayed in Super 8’s that have the same quality toilet paper as this super swanky, expensive Hilton-brand hotel in Chicago. What does that mean? Granted, I suppose toilet paper is something people use a lot of, and it’s not exactly like it can be reused. I’m sure it gets really expensive.

But really? A hotel that gives you slippers and bathrobes buys the same toilet paper as the cheap-o hotels? It’s like they’re dedicated to providing the best hotel experience possible, but that care doesn’t extend to buying good toilet paper. To me, that’s like writing a whole novel and letting the last chapter go out without proofreading. It’s like cooking a whole meal for someone and forgetting to offer dessert.

If it were you, wouldn’t you want to go all the way? Wouldn’t you prefer to be someone who doesn’t skimp on the details?

0127151549Today’s verse is 1 Kings 8:61.

And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.

It’s difficult to be completely committed to something, regardless of whether it’s a person or an ideal or even a goal. Commitment is one of those words that scares people and rightly so. It takes time and effort and sacrifice, and most of the time you have to give up something you want in the process.

So what about being committed to God? It was D.L. Moody who said: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him.” As far as my own life goes, I can tell you I’m not anywhere close to being fully committed to Him. I know I should be, but it’s difficult because I want what I want.

It’s like a swanky hotel with cheap toilet paper. You might have all the trimmings and all the best to offer, but you cheap out on the details. You don’t go all the way because it might cost you something you aren’t willing to give.

God gives us so much grace, because even when He knows we aren’t 100% committed to Him, He still provides for us. He still hears us. He still answers our prayers and walks through life beside us. But what would our lives look like if we truly were 100% sold out to Him?

We wouldn’t worry so much. We’d focus on the things that really matter. And I think we’d find that the choices we struggle to make would become much easier. Because when you are focused on living for God, that means you make His priorities yours, and that changes the way you see life.

It’s not an easy choice, and I’m willing to bet that D.L. Moody really was correct. The world has yet to see someone sold out for God, but I’d like to be that person.

So don’t cheap out. Don’t give your life to God in only the big things. Be committed, even in the details. Otherwise, your life will be like a five-star hotel equipped with the cheapest toilet paper on the shelves.

Blossoming redbud tree outside the church at the Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS

Living all in

Commitment is one of the scariest words in the English language. Whether you’re committing to someone or something, it means you’re making a promise to see it through to the end. Commitment takes hard work and loyalty and lots and lots of grace, both received and extended, and whether it’s a person, a goal, or a cause, you won’t see the end of that promise overnight.

It isn’t just our culture that’s struggled with commitment issues. I think people all over the place have always fought to keep their promises, but keeping a promise is a lot harder than making one.

Blossoming redbud tree outside the church at the Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS

Blossoming redbud tree outside the church at the Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is 1 Kings 8:61.

And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.

This is taken from a prayer that King Solomon prayed during the dedication of the Temple. Part of the prayer was to God, asking Him to remember them, and the rest of it was a statement to the Children of Israel to remember all that God had done for them. And wise King Solomon ended with this statement.

I was curious as to what that phrase completely faithful meant, so I checked the Amplified version. According to that version, it says: “blameless and wholly true.”

That’s a pretty tall order for any human being.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with making a commitment, and, even though I do struggle throughout, I don’t have a problem keeping a commitment. But there are levels of commitment.

You can make a promise to someone or you can promise to achieve something without putting your whole heart and soul into it. You can make a half-hearted commitment, and it’s safer that way. Because that way when people hurt you or when people let you down or when situations don’t work out the way you expect them to, you can protect yourself from disappointment.

That’s the category I usually end up in. But there’s nothing about that lifestyle that says “wholly true” is there? There’s nothing whole about that method of commitment at all. And maybe you protect yourself by only committing half of your heart but in the end, you only reap half the reward.

I really believe, as Christ-followers, God is calling us to be committed to His plans, whatever they are. He has a specific plan and intention for each of our lives. We may not know what those plans are yet. Some of us might, and if you do you’re fortunate. But whatever He’s asked us to do, wherever He’s asked us to serve, whoever He’s asked us to be, we need to commit to it with our whole heart.

It’s not easy. It actually may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, and I can’t even promise that you’ll experience success along the way. But I can tell you that if you commit to doing what God has called you to do, He will bring you joy and peace, and you’ll never go without the things you need.

You just have to trust Him, and that’s what it comes down to. You have to trust Him enough to give up your plans in favor of His. You have to trust Him enough to let go of your strategies that will help you get ahead, and you may have to take a back seat somewhere. You may have to be taken down a notch in the corporate world. You may have to give up a high paying job. You may have to work a job that you think has nothing to do with your dreams.

But wherever He leads you, whatever He is asking you to do, do it. And don’t worry about whether or not it will work out. Just focus on doing the best you can where you are, committed to God’s plan with your whole heart.

Commitment isn’t impossible. It’s just a challenge. Whenever you make a commitment to anyone or anything, you’re going to face obstacles that make it difficult to keep your word. It could be financial difficulties. It could be emotional trouble. It could be relationship issues. It could be any number of things this broken world and our enemy can throw at us to get us sidetracked, but if you can endure, if you stay committed, it’s worth it.

We’re not called to live a half-life. We’re called to live all in. So stop hoarding your chips. Push them all to the center of the table and let God take over the game. I won’t say it’ll be easy, and I can’t promise that you won’t have trouble, but I can tell you that God’s holding all the cards anyway. So who would you rather bet on?