Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Committed To 2015

                I am a quitter, I admit it; it is one of my many faults. I start out like a lion but end like a lamb. This has been me since the day that I was born. Very rarely do the things I want to accomplish actually get accomplished. I have plans and goals and even have written out my to-do lists to go along with them, but in the end only about half of the list gets accomplished. I seem to get in the way of myself a lot. This confession of my failures brings me to discuss with you today the next word the Lord has shown me for the upcoming year. If you have been reading my blog you will know that I previously wrote about the first word He gave me, which was to be more thankful in my daily life. The next word addresses this habit of mine to give up and quit in the middle of something. It is an area of my life that the Lord has also shown me needs His faithful touch.
              
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        The second word He has given me for the upcoming year is “Commitment”. I need to be more committed in my day to day life. Almost fifteen years ago I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I committed to following Him in every area of my life, my thoughts, my dreams, my desires, and my goals- all His. I committed to making Him the Lord of my life for all eternity. It is a commitment that I have never regretted one second of. But this commitment that He is showing me has to do with the purpose He has for me. There has been a goal, of sorts, placed in front of me, a path He wants me to take, and it will take a lot of commitment from me to accomplish it. It will require the sacrifice of my time, and a rearranging of my daily routine to accomplish what it is He is asking of me. I will have to give up a lot of self to accomplish this purpose and path He has laid before me.  I must allow Him to teach me how to be committed, because I cannot accomplish anything in my own strength.
                “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
                The reason why I have so much trouble with sticking to a path is because I allow my thoughts to wander and my self –will to take over. My desire is to do what it is He is asking of me, but in my own heart there is also a desire to do it my way. Solomon, the writer of this proverb, tells us that we must give our works, our labors, our deeds, our achievements to Him. All that I desire to do must be given to Him first if I have any hope of accomplishing that which He has asked of me. We all have goals, desires, or dreams that the Lord has confirmed in us, or shown us. All of us have a purpose on this earth, and God has given each one of us gifts and talents to accomplish those purposes. But many times I find myself starting out on the right path, but wandering onto another one, until I have wandered so far that I just give up at every trying again.
                But, if I truly understand what it means to be committed to Him and I truly understand what it means to commit my works to Him, then my thoughts will be established. Being committed to Him is like the sun that is in the sky. Each day it awakens and goes to the place that God has prepared for it. Day after day it shines just as the Lord created it to do. It does not wander or waver from its set place. It knows its purpose, what it has been created to do, and it has committed itself to His keeping. It does not waver at the mere thought of a rain cloud passing in front of it. It does not get distracted by what is going on around it, or what it might want to do instead. Nope, it stands in its place and does what God has created it to do no matter what. The sun is very committed!
                But isn't that what committed means?  Committed means that we see the path that the Lord has prepared for us and we walk in it. Just like Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” He has set before us a path, a purpose, a job to do. He has given us the gifts and the talents to accomplish the purpose He has created us for. He has given us all that we need to accomplish all that He has asked of us. All He is asking from us is that we commit to Him to do it. Giving all that I do to the Lord each day will establish all that I desire to do and I will be set upon the course He desires, just like the sun is set each and every day.  
                “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.”   Psalm 37:4-5       

                What the Lord has shown me about my lack of committing my ways to Him is that I get tossed to and fro upon the seas of life. I get easily distracted when I don’t commit to doing what it is He has shown me to do that day. My lack of commitment to the work He has purposed for me causes me to wander from the path which He has prepared for me. I sound like a hopeless case, don’t I? But, our God never leaves us without hope. There is always an answer to our failures and our fears in His word. I may not be very good at staying in one place, but I am not the first one to struggle with this, and I won’t be the last one either.
                “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
                Paul too understood that to be able to commit our works and our ways to the Lord meant that we did not give up. Every day is a new day to start over. Paul says that he forgets those things which are behind and reaches forward to those things which are ahead. Paul left his failures where they belonged, with yesterday, and committed to do what God had called him to do today. We are not promised tomorrow, we are not even promised the whole day today. All we have is this moment right now to commit to the Lord our ways, our works, our will, our hopes, our dreams and desires. When we do this, He will establish our thoughts and we will be able to walk the path He has prepared for us.
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                If you are like me, once I fail at something, I have a hard time getting back into the saddle to try and start again. But the Lord is showing me that to be truly committed to Him means that no matter how many times we fail, no matter how far we may wander, He will always give us another chance to get back up and start over. We must never forget that “through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
                I am going to fail, I am going to wander from the path He has laid before me, but His mercy is what keeps me coming back. His compassion for my failures never wavers. Every single day, He is faithful to help me get back into the saddle so that I may ride this trail of life that He has prepared for me. I may not understand the direction the path is leading me, there may be detours and bridges out ahead, but He does not ask me to understand the path I am on, He only asks me to trust Him and to keep pressing toward the high calling of Jesus Christ in my life. Today is a new day, tomorrow is a new year, and His faithfulness will guide the way home. He has prepared a path for us; all we must do is be committed to walking in it.

                I pray today that not only would I understand what it means to be committed to the purposes and plans that You have for me, Lord, but also for anyone else who needs Your guidance and understanding. Father, give us hearts that are committed to You today, to walk in the plans and purposes that You have shown us, and may our wandering hearts trust You as we walk into the next year of our lives. In Jesus name, to You alone be glory and honor and praise. Amen and Amen. Great is Your faithfulness.