I Am Thinking Of a Word

October 21, 2016

As I sit here, awakened by the Lord in the middle of the night, I am thinking of a word.

 

“Committed.”

 

In the English language we use the word “committed” in two ways.

 

One most often has to do with “committing” sin. This is the Greek word “poieo” and it simply means “to perform an act or to do.”

 

The other way “committed” shows up in the Bible has to do with the complete dedication of someone or something to God. For instance, when an animal was given to be sacrificed in the Temple, it was completely given to God.

 

All those Old Covenant sacrifices were mere pictures of what Jesus would someday choose to be…..on our behalf. Thinking about this, the Apostle Paul appeals to us to adopt His mindset in how we are to spend our lives in Christ:

 

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

 

Jesus was committed.

 

He totally entrusted Himself to whatever His Father had in mind for Him – for our sakes.

 

Modern Christians, who often decide in haste to “become a Christian” or “be born again”, are usually not informed that when they pray to receive Jesus as their Lord (Romans 10:8-13) they are actually totally committing themselves into the hands of God.

 

When Jesus died He modeled this very thing we do now when we are saved with His words to His Father:

 

“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46)

 

In our modern, often watered-down version of Christianity, most Christians have no idea of the level of commitment to God to which we pledged ourselves.

 

First century Christians understood this perfectly. That’s why they lived like they did and that’s why they were able to spread God’s Kingdom in a way that is rarely seen on the earth today.

 

When Paul and Barnabas were in the region known as Lycaonia they were living out the commitment they had made to their Lord who had so completely committed Himself for their eternal benefit.

 

“Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.” (Acts 14:1-2)

 

These two believers were simply obeying the Lord and speaking the things Holy Spirit directed them to speak. What was the result of that? One result was that a great multitude of people were saved.

 

That is a wonderful result!

 

Another result was not so wonderful: “the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.”

 

Anyone who has experienced it knows that it is not fun to experience having someone poison the minds of others toward them just for obeying the Lord.

 

Paul and Barnabas were no strangers to this sort of thing. They had just been expelled from Antioch in the region of Pisidia (west of Lycaonia) by persecution caused by the Jews, the devout and prominent women and the chief men of Antioch.

 

They knew what was coming toward them: persecution. Here in Iconium it was happening again. How did they handle the tension and fear that just had to go with this situation?

 

They stayed in the tension.

 

“Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” (Acts 14:3)

 

Why did they stay in a dangerous environment like that? They were committed to Jesus.

 

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

 

They knew they did not belong to themselves, rather to Jesus.

It is good, seeing this kind of commitment in our first century brothers and sisters in Christ, for us to ask the Lord to examine our hearts.

 

Do we really believe that we belong to Jesus and that we are His to do with as HE sees fit?

 

One way we can know the answer to that question is to be honest about how we live in terms of keeping our commitments – especially when things become difficult.

 

Do we remain in the pressure like Jesus did when He was tempted in the Garden of Gethsemane or like Paul and Barnabas did in Iconium? Or do we start looking for escape routes like running away?

 

Now, if we were to go through Acts and watch Paul and Barnabas in the mission field we would see that sometimes the Lord directs them to move on and sometimes they obey His direction to remain where they are like they did in Iconium in Acts 14. 

 

That is the real question: will we honor the Lord when we know we are supposed to stay in a hard situation…..for His sake?

 

One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible is in the letter to the Hebrews and I quote it often in my writings.

 

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

 

In each sentence of this short passage there is found some form of the same word: “endurance.”

 

Simply put, this word means “to remain under the pressure.”

 

In other words, in this passage in Hebrews the Lord is telling us that there WILL be pressure, to remain under it resisting the temptation to cut and run, and to be empowered to remain under the pressure by focusing on our Lord (“looking unto Jesus”).

 

Holy Spirit (through the writer of Hebrews) wrote this to first century Jewish Christians who were experiencing the very same things that Paul and Barnabas tasted in Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Antioch and everywhere else they went in obedience to the Lord Jesus.

 

He writes it to us as well urging us, as He did them, to honor our commitment to God.

 

The clock’s hands are not going backwards. Time is moving on. There is an end to mankind’s time on the earth. We do not know when that time will be but every moment brings that time closer.

 

As this article comes to a close listen to the Apostle Peter’s encouragement as to how to live out our commitment to our Lord.

 

“…the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.

 

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:7-19)

 

As I sit here, awakened by the Lord in the middle of the night, I am thinking of a word: “committed.”

 

Let us commit our souls to God and perhaps the Lord will do with us what He did through Paul and Barnabas when they remained under the pressure in Iconium:

 

“Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” (Acts 14:3)

 

I would like to witness and be a part of that. Wouldn’t you?

 

These are truly exciting times to be in the Lord!

 

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (1 Thessalonians 3:16)

 

 

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

© October 20, 2016

(for use with permission)

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