Commitment to God; November 11, 2022

Jeremiah 30:21 “I will bring him near and he will come close to me,
for who is he who will devote himself
to be close to me?’
declares the Lord.

This Word of the Lord is specifically in relation to Israel’s ruler, but the rhetorical question included in it applies much more broadly. The English expression of “devote himself” doesn’t have quite the punch of the Japanese expression, “at the risk of his life.” The idea is, “I’ll draw close to God even if it kills me.” This brings to mind Jesus’ statement about taking up our cross and losing our life for His sake. (Luke 9:23-24) Probably the biggest human factor in the growth of the Church in times of persecution is this area of total commitment. We are created to take on challenges, and this is kind of the ultimate challenge. Half-hearted Christians are hardly dynamic! We can receive the abundance of God only when we let go of the things of this world, all the way down to our physical lives. This isn’t being suicidal, it’s holding everything with open hands, giving God full permission to take anything He would like and use it however He would like. That’s much easier said than done! Part of the problem is that such commitment is far more often subtle than overt. We have many stories of people “rising to the challenge” in battle, sometimes at the expense of their own life. That’s what the Medal of Honor is all about. However, standing for God in the face of social pressure – and today, social media pressure – doesn’t get that kind of recognition, except from God. Make no mistake: God knows who is committed to Him! That is the challenge God gives us here.

Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I know from experience that commitment has to be renewed, because of our human weakness. We might not lose our salvation, but we can certainly lose some of our rewards. That’s why I like Luke’s record of Jesus’ statement that I quoted: we need to take up our cross daily. I have committed my life to Christ, certainly, but I too need to keep my commitment up to date. Around 40 years ago a Social Studies teacher in the high school where I was teaching English came to me one day and said, “I used you as an example in class today.” I was naturally interested, and he told me he had been explaining different attitudes toward religion in different countries. He had said, “If you point a gun at a Japanese and say, ‘Change your religion,’ they will respond, ‘To what?’ If you point a gun at Garrott and say that, he will spread his hands and say, ‘Shoot.’” I was deeply moved by that, and deeply grateful that I had given such an impression, though I had not consciously intended to. However, that was 40 years ago, and that commitment has to be renewed regularly, daily, as Luke said. To use my father’s expression, I’ve got to keep giving all I know of myself to all I know of Christ, and I keep learning more all the time!

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for the privilege of being committed to You, and to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help me indeed keep growing in that commitment so that I may be what You want me to be, on every level and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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