It’s eleven days into 2016 and already many have probably fallen off the wagon with their New Years resolutions. One thing that I began to do a few years ago is to not make any resolutions, but to make commitments. For me when I make a commitment, I have made a decision to dedicate myself to this particular activity. According to wikipedia, a New Years resolution is a promise to do something for self-improvement. Now there may be times when I fail but I am committed to see this through. Being committed is something more concrete and you tend to put more effort and persevere to see it through. Resolutions as with goals, we tend to fail and never get up again until the following new year and thus creating a bad cycle of never following through with our resolutions. Commitments take determination and dedication, you may fail along the way, but you are committed. Last year I committed to start writing in a journal, this year I have made a commitment to write in it a least 2-3 times a week. So far I have been unsuccessful in journaling three times a week, but I am committed to it. This is a challenge for me because I have never been an avid reader or writer but the more I do it, the more I see the benefit of it and am encouraged to do more. What are you committed to? What areas should you be committed to?
Some suggestions on making commitments: First, I would not make a commitment that is so far out of reach that you get too discouraged and give up. I would start as I have, for example, commit to writing in a journal. I managed to write in my journal at least once a month in 2015, occasionally it would be multiple times a week, but I was committed to writing in it. This year I increased that commitment to writing in it at least 2-3 times a week. This brings up my second point, review and increase your commitment. It is always good to challenge yourself to improve. Lastly, pray over it each week and see how these commitments improve your relationship with God. Let’s take a look at someone who understood what it meant to be committed.
In the book of Genesis in chapters six and seven, we read the story of Noah and the flood. This must have been a great spectacle to see the earth fill with water in such a way that has never been done before or will be done again. Noah was a man who had found favor with God and because of that God was gracious to save him and his family from the flood. According to the Scriptures, there is not much said about who Noah was or what he actually did, other then he was the son of Lamech. But one thing is certain, he found favor with God. It is quite possible that at a very early age Noah was committed to please God, because according to the Scriptures it states that, “…8Noah found grace with God. 9…Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9 NKJV). This character description is not found often and it was clear that Noah was committed to God and He blessed him for it.
It does not say in the text but I have to wonder how Noah felt when God revealed His plan to destroy everything on the earth but him and his family. I’m sure that he was thankful and maybe even relieved that God was so gracious in sparing his and his family’s lives. Although on the other hand, I have to wonder if Noah was at all saddened to know everyone else would die.
What trust, what faith, what a commitment to God Noah had? Noah heard this plan and understood that he would be in charge of building an ark that would house his family and two of every animal. It does not say in the text how he felt but can you imagine how you would be feeling?
According to the Scripture there is no hesitation on the part of Noah to obey God. There was no questioning Him, no arguing with God, just a continued commitment to obey God in everything. God laid out the plan and Noah did it, WOW!
Did God lay out some unattainable resolution that He knew Noah would give up on after a week? How often in our own lives do we argue with God and lack trust in Him? What areas of our lives do we trust in ourselves more than the Creator? Are we going to be someone like Paul who was a committed disciple of Christ, who was committed to making more disciples that will go forth and do the same? What is your level of commitment to God? What needs to change? Just because it is eleven days into the new year does not mean you can’t make new commitments today. What will they be?
Genesis 6:8-9, 21-22(NKJV) 8But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God… 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Genesis 7:1, 5(NKJV) 1Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation…5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him
2nd Timothy 2:1-2(NKJV) 1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
1st Thessalonians 5:15-23 (NKJV) 15See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James4:7-8 (NKJV) 7Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.