Posts Tagged ‘Commitment’


BE COMMITTED TO THE RELATIONSHIP.

Good relationships don’t happen overnight and they don’t happen by accident.  If you want to get beyond shallow, superficial relationships you’ve got to be committed to it. 

You or someone you know is in a relationship right now and are hanging on by less than a thread.  Do not give up.  We have a miracle working God.  The same God that raises the dead can raise a dead relationship if you’re willing to be changed.

But it takes a commitment.  The Bible says this in Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times.”  The word, “all” means even when it’s inconvenient, when you don’t feel like it, even when they don’t deserve it, even at personal cost.  That’s what real friendship is all about.  When you’re blowing it and you’re making a mistake, a friend doesn’t quit on you. A friend is in your corner when you’re cornered.  And they see you through when everybody else thinks you’re through.  They are there when you least deserve it. 

Here’s the bottom line: You need people in your life to do the three thing I’ve written about in this series of blogs. But the only way you’re going to get these kinds of people in your life is you have to be that kind of person.  You can’t expect other people to treat you this way if you don’t treat them that way. 

Probably the best known Christian psychologist in America, Larry Crabb, wrote in his book Connecting, which I read in seminary and highly recommend, “When two people really connect something is poured out of one and into the other that has the power to heal the soul of its deepest wounds and restores it to health.  The one who receives experiences the joy of being healed.  And the one who gives knows even greater joy of being used to heal.  Something good is in the heart of each of God’s children that is far more powerful than everything bad in the world.  It’s there waiting to be released and work its magic.  But you have to be connected.”

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God did not put you on earth just so you could be a self-centered clod.  In fact the Bible teaches that one day we will be evaluated on how we did in two areas: Did we learn to love God with all our heart?  And did we learn to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Life is not about achievements, it is not about accomplishments.  It is not about acquisition.  It is about relationships.  It’s why God put you on this planet.  Love is the main thing.

This year the 40 day spiritual renewal emphasis at Wahoo Church (the church that calls me pastor and probably a few other things from time to time) is love.  Our goal is for each of us to become great lovers.  We want to learn how to develop loving relationships.  Each week during this campaign I will post at least one article on the topic of love.

1. A great lover is committed to growth. 

You don’t become a great lover accidentally.  It is intentional.  You’re going to have to make a commitment to growth.  When Larke and I first got married I was the world’s worst gift giver in the history of mankind.  I would wait till the last minute, run out and find something girlish looking, purchase it home and give it to her… usually in the purchase bag!  While I am still not in the top percentile of gift givers, I did make a commitment to growth in this area of our relationship. 

I begin in the summer of each year praying that God would lead me to a special Christmas present for the woman who most think is a saint just for putting up with me on a daily basis.  I started listening to her and making notes when she says, “Oh, that is cute.”  If I am going to be able to wear the title, Dr. Love, it starts with a commitment to grow.

2.  A great lover has great role models.  

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my dad and I treasure every lesson I learned from him in life (Even though I can’t use most of them in mixed company).  However, he did very little modeling when it came to this Christmas present issue.  He had a lady sales clerk at one of the department stores in our town be a personal shopper for him before personal shoppers were in vogue.  He would contact her about three weeks before Christmas and she would pick out a gift for my mom, wrap it and set it aside for my dad to pick up the week prior to Christmas.  He saw it when mom saw it.  Now as far as I know my mom was cool with this set up because the lady sales clerk did a good job.  This does not work in all situations. 

Some people see the love that goes into the thoughtful planning, shopping, and preparation of the gift for presentation just as important as the gift.  On one level, I see their point.  Now my dad was a great role model in work ethic and the fine art of a dry sense of humor but Christmas shopping, not so much. (Sorry for throwing you under the bus dad.)

Jesus is the model of perfection in relationships.  He was the Son of God.  He was perfect.  He was the only one who knew how to handle relationships perfectly.  As in all areas of life, he makes a great role model.

If we want become a great lover we would do well to listen to others like Jesus did, look at others like he did, give to others like he did and go to others like he did.   

Our theme Bible verse for the 40 Days of Love is 1 Corinthians 16:14 Everything you do must be done with love.”  One of the key words in this verse is the little word “do.”  There’s a difference between information and transformation.  If all you do is press the “Like” button on this article you are never going to become more loving.  You must move from your commitment to growth and observing your role model to actually practicing your love skills.  You must develop the habits of a great lover.  I will be exploring those skills and habits in future blog posts.

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We are all going to end up there eventually if we live long enough.  We are all going to come to a place where we look back at the life we’ve lived and have one of two reactions: satisfaction or regret.  I am writing this week about how to avoid the latter of the two reactions.  Today we look at the second action we should take:

2. Focus on being a contributor rather than just a consumer.
Goal setting books and seminars nearly always encourage people to make a wish-list of things they want. They say things like “State it in the positive like you have already received it.” Such as, “I earn $100,000 a year; I own a new Mercedes; I live in a 5000 square foot home.”

The main problem with this kind of goal setting (aside from the fact that it is ridiculous) is that you are focusing on you and the things you want. There is a big difference between having things and living a life of significance.

Try a different approach. Instead of setting a goal for how much money you will get, set a goal for how much money you will give. Or, instead of setting a goal for a certain promotion, set a goal for what you could do to make yourself more valuable as an employee. The difference is more than just a matter of semantics; it’s a matter of focus.

There are people who spend their entire lives working jobs they despise because it offers security–it enables them to gather a stockpile of stuff. Take my word for it: stuff isn’t worth it. Things don’t make your life significant. The significance you have in life is determined by what you do…what you give…not what you get. The Bible says… “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4)

What is Solomon saying? He’s reminding us that what you do is more important than what you have. Significance comes not from your acquisitions but your accomplishments. Think about what you want to accomplish–what you want to do with your life. Choose to do something you love.

The Beatles had a song back in the old day (my youth) that had as its hook line, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.”   Listen, there are a lot of things that money can’t buy; a life of significance being one of them.  Therefore, instead of pursuing money, pursue a career that you love. Loving your job is far more important than being able to afford a bigger house or a nicer car.

The principle here is simple: To live a life of significance, do what you love. Success, rewards, money, promotions–they may or not happen. Do what you love and your life will have impact.

I believe with all my heart that if you are committed to doing God’s will in your life, God will give you a dream of what you can accomplish, and he will give you the ability to do it–if your focus is on accomplishing something good, rather than accumulating things. The Bible says… “The desire of the righteous ends only in good.” (Proverbs 11:23)

If you’re committed to doing God’s will, he will give you a dream of what you can accomplish in life.

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I am writing this week about how to manage your life in a way that will help you reach your goals and accomplish things that last far beyond your lifetime. Maybe you wasted yesterday—maybe you wasted all your yesterdays—but today is yours. Today you can take charge of today, and begin doing things to ensure that you get the most out of today, and in the process you will make your future what you want it to be. Over the next couple of days I want to humbly offer three things you can do to build a life without regrets. First of all…

1. Make up your mind what kind of person you want to be–and do something today to make it true.

What kind of person do you want to be? If someone were to speak at your funeral, what would you want them to be able to say truthfully about you? What values are most important to you?

As we read the writings of Paul the Apostle, it is obvious that he placed a great deal of importance on consistency and faithfulness. Near the end of his ministry he wrote… “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Earlier in his ministry Paul said… “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” (Acts 20:24)

If you were to ask Paul the question “What do you want to be true about you?” he would most likely say, “I want to be faithful to the very end.” How did he make sure that it happened? He knew what kind of person he wanted to be, and everyday he did something to make it true. That’s why he said… “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Paul is obviously using a metaphor in this verse. The point he is making is in order to be found faithful at the end of his race, he had to be faithful today. He lived everyday like it has eternal significance.

Do you want to live a life of significance? Do something significant today. Do you want to be generous? Give today. Do you want to be known as a kind person? Be kind today. Whatever you want to be true about you, do something today to start making it true. In fact, I would like to give you a little homework assignment to work on this week. Think of the three most important character qualities you would like to develop over the course of your life. For the rest of this week, do at least one thing each day that will move you in the direction of making that character quality a reality in your life.

For example, if you want to be a caring person, then for the next seven days go out of your way to be caring AT LEAST ONCE each day. This seems simple, but it works. People who live lives of significance don’t get there by accident, they get there by effort. The Bible says… “A prudent man gives thought to his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15)

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I have already been made aware that the title of yesterday’s post was becoming a model man and just to the left of that title was a picture of me.  In the interest of full disclosure, I know that I have not achieved the status of model man or any other model for that matter.  The picture is in reference to the fishing trip with my son that I mention later in the post.  So save your stamp and emails (you know who you are).  Now on with today’s edition of the model man series:

Another character trait of a model man is COMMITMENT.  That’s the value that makes you great.  Men who do what my football coach used to exhort my high school team to do, “man up.”   What I think he was saying is that losers give up but if you want to win in life you have to be willing to man up!

Guys, to say that we have a problem with this “C” word is an understatement.  I Googled “Men of Commitment” and got things like: Why Men Are Commitment Phobic, Men Afraid of Commitment, 5 Reasons Why Men Fear Commitment, and Why Men Don’t Commit.  That is not a very good sign.  We don’t have a very good track record here.

What do we do to turn this trend around?  STOP BEING WIMPY WILLIES!  The number one complaint I get from wives in marriage counseling deals with passive husbands.  She says, “My husband is a go-getter from the word, Go, when it comes to his business.  He is highly motivated, energetic.  He takes on the world with a vengeance.  He even takes on his sports with a vengeance.  He’s incredibly active in taking the initiative.  But when he comes home, when it comes to helping me, parenting the kids, and spiritual matters, he abdicates all leadership and becomes passive.  Then the catch 22 is that he resents me for taking the lead.  He resents it and he’s jealous of it and he even puts me down for it.”  That is sad!  Really sad!

Where are all the Joshua men from Joshua 24 in the Bible?  Men who will say “I don’t know about Media Max’s family but as for me and my house we are going to do it God’s way.”  Where are all of the men who hang on to their promises with the tenacity of a bulldog?  Another saying that my coach would preach to us is, “Winners never, never, never quit and quitters never win.”  The problem is, when we men quit, the losers are our families which has a ripple effect to our churches and communities.  Let’s “man up” men.

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 If I were to give you a test and ask you to fill in the blank: “What one word would best summarize the whole marriage relationship? ______________.”  What word would you write?

Key #5:  Commitment

For most of us that word would be the word “love.”  I think a better word would be “commitment.”  Any two people given the right circumstances, the right environment could develop romantic, loving feelings toward each other.  But that’s not really at the heart of marriage.  In fact, the difference between marriage and just living together is commitment.  God expects us to keep that commitment.  In Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, we find these very strong words, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, ‘So make sure you don’t break your promise to be faithful to your mate.’”  

Divorce is a reality in our world and there are many, many people in our inside and outside of the church who have been through the painful experience of divorce.  Thank God for His grace and His forgiveness.  But let’s be honest.  It’s not God’s ideal.  You will never build strong, intimate marriage relationship when divorce is an option.  There are many people who secretly carry around this little escape hatch.  In their minds they think, “If it gets really hard or things don’t go like I thought or if I get really unhappy I’ve got this little key to the escape hatch that will always allow me a way out.”  I actually had a person who was a leader in his church tell me that God told him to divorce his first wife and marry another.  He said that he was unhappy in his marriage and God wanted him to be happy and enjoy life. 

So let me encourage you.  If you’re married, if you’re reading this, throw away that key.  Don’t leave yourself that escape hatch.  Don’t leave yourself that option.  When you said, “Till death do us part,” that was a lifelong commitment.  Don’t leave it as an option. 

There are some people who have the attitude, “If I could just get out…  If I could just be with that person…  If I could just get this kind of relationship…” the whole idea of the grass is always greener over there.  The grass is greener where you water it.  And it starts with your commitment.  No matter where you are right now stay committed.   Seek godly counseling.  God’s main goal for you is not your happiness it is your holiness.  He wants you to have joy and to be complete in him. 

Larke and I went to a marriage conference in Atlanta some years ago.  I don’t remember who was leading it but I do remember a very helpful instruction he gave to the men.  He said, “Men, divorce every other woman on earth but your wife.”  Now that is one divorce I think God would approve of!  This is good advice for both spouses.

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