For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Lk 14:28–30)
Commitment has become something of a lost concept these days. We’re told to keep our options open because something better might be available out there. Better job, better house or car, better, more fulfilling relationship. And we’ve convinced ourselves we always deserve the best, and it borders on criminal to have to settle for anything less.
Couples no longer see it as necessary to get married. After all, they ‘love each other’; isn’t that enough? We take jobs that seem interesting enough, with great benefits, until someone comes along and offers us something better (sadly, I have to plead guilty to this one). Even those who proclaim belief in God will decide that baptism, repentance, or being a part of a church really isn’t necessary; they can worship God just fine on their own.
The problem is, that’s not commitment. Commitment is declaring total allegiance to the one you’ve chosen, be it a spouse, an employer, or a Savior. You’re “all in”. You’ll be there for the duration, no matter what happens, no matter how tough it might get. You’ll always have their backs, and they your absolute loyalty. There’s more involved than just “what’s in it for me?”.
True commitment comes at a cost. You give up the right to change your mind if it “doesn’t work for you”. It also comes with consequences should you fail to live up to it. It holds us accountable; it’s not easy to break. And as such, we need to very seriously consider the cost of making such a commitment. Once we decide it’s worth it we make the choice.
Getting married is one such commitment. We think, “we love each other, why do we need a piece of paper or a ceremony”? But if your relationship is based on a concept of love as only some romantic feeling, will that hold up when life turns sour, the bills start piling up, and the baby’s crying? This is what love as commitment looks like:
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” – (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).
This kind of love covers so much more than marriage. It covers any and every type of relationship. This is God-like love. If we claim to believe in God, unless this is the kind of love we practice our claims are nothing but empty words. It’s a verb, not a noun. It’s not something we feel; it’s something we do. It can’t be found within ourselves; we just can’t do it on our own. This is love placed within us by the Holy Spirit when we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ through real belief, repentance, and baptism and become His disciple, his possession.
Commitments need to be a public declaration; it’s our saying, “I belong to this one and this one alone”. It’s the reason we have marriage ceremonies and public baptisms. It’s telling the world that your loyalty, your love, and all of you is now the property of that wonderful man or woman, or even more importantly, the Son of God who paid the awful price for you to be forgiven and made new. It’s your solemn promise that you will spend your life loving them with the right kind of love- self-sacrificing love that seeks the very best for them.
See, God has done that throughout the Bible. He wants the very best for us even when we don’t see it that way. He gave his very best, Jesus Christ, to pay the price of our rebellion and to make a way of reconciliation so we may be with Him, now and for eternity. And He has promised to always be with us when we choose to be with Him.
“Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
That’s God’s commitment to us, and it holds true even if we choose to walk away from him. But like all commitments, there’s consequences if we do. He’ll let us go, and life without God for eternity is not something any of us should want. Count the cost, and make the commitment; you’ll find it to be a small one in comparison to the blessings and benefits it brings.