Commitment and dedication seem to be ideas of a time gone by. Today, we seem to witness those who take things for granted and expect the benefits of hard work, struggle, and determination without actually having to put out the effort. Nothing of any value ever comes easy; how extraordinary it is to find someone on the practice field, in the classroom, at their desk, in rehearsal, or up late caring for another long after others have gone home. I am not talking about workaholics who strive for money, power, and acclaim… but those who strive for excellence, excelling because there is a cause greater than themselves.
Taking the easy way out, quitting because you didn’t get your own way, giving up because pain and suffering were involved, or maybe realizing you needed to change the way you think or believe… these are all actions of those who set out with the wrong intent or motive, having never counted the cost in the first place. Life’s goal is not pleasure, true pleasure is a byproduct of the commitment and dedication to operating within the design of God’s will.
When Jesus was being challenged by Satan, “the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’””
(Luke 4:5-8) Jesus could have bypassed the whole crucifixion if he had just accepted Satan’s offer… no pain, no suffering, no separation from His Father, no bearing the wrath of God towards all sin… no cup of bitterness to drink. Sure he would have the so called authority, power, position, and wealth that the devil brags about, but what He would not have accomplished is the will of God to save all men from the consequences of sin and death. The scriptures tell us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. The climax of this struggle to do what’s right in accordance with the perfect will of God came in the garden where we witness Jesus on His knees pleading with the Father, “saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. ‘Nevertheless’, NOT my will, but YOURS, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus knew we can’t save ourselves, and He knew God had a plan of salvation from before the foundations of the earth… a perfect plan that would redeem man completely, making it possible for us to participate in His perfect love for all eternity… He also knew it required His death on a cross. Knowing these things, “Jesus emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8).
Very few of us will have to live out our faith in God’s Word at this level of commitment and dedication, but those who do choose to live in accordance with God’s Word, regardless of the circumstances and cost, and will get the same response from God as Jesus did in the garden when praying. Scripture tells us, “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43). Jesus is fighting for you even today. Whatever you are facing, all the resources of Heaven are at your disposal… and they are carried to you by His Spirit who lives in those whose faith is in Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
You don’t have to fight alone… there is hope and His name is Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him, allowing Him to author your faith in the midst of the storm, and you will know a joy and contentment forever more.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “Yes, it is true—God will remain faithful even when you’re not, because his faithfulness rests on who he is, not on what you’re doing.” -Paul David Tripp