Come on – who watched the Royal Wedding over the weekend? I’ll fully admit I’m a bit of a Royalist and I love that Harry has meant someone tenacious as well as beautiful – the new generation of Royals are shaping up well! The best part of the ceremony was the message delivered by Bishop Michael. A powerfully simple message, telling billions about the gospel.
Recently I’ve really felt a draw to the word commitment. I mostly associate it with marriage – it’s a huge commitment that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. But commitment can come in all shapes – buying a house and getting a mortgage is a commitment, owning a dog is a commitment, work is a commitment, college is a commitment.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines commitment as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc” – it doesn’t just apply to marriage at all. But it is a big word.
I recently applied for College, and on the application form, I was asked how long I wanted to study for – 1 year, or 3. In one year, you get the basics – a foundation of knowledge. In three years, you get fully equipped – ready to take on the world in your chosen field. All you have to do is commit.
So what did I do? Did I eagerly sign up for an exciting opportunity at bible college? Lean in to God’s presence and finely attune myself to his voice while equipping myself in pastoral leadership? Or did I choose to hedge my bets, timidly holding back, afraid to make a wrong move?
I heard a radio report the other day, that young adults are more likely to choose to rent rather than buy because they’re not ready to commit to a mortgage and a house. They like the freedom of being able to move around, to upgrade quickly or relocate when renting – something that ownership doesn’t allow. They’re choosing not to commit. Just like I did when I chose to apply to study for 1 year instead of 3.
Hand in hand with commitment is devotion. In the Christian world we think of devotionals – we read writings by others which help us dig deeper into the Word, but devotion has a broader meaning that I think we forget – at least I know I do.
Again, I’m going to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary: devotion – love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity. If I refer back to marriage, thinking of Harry and Meghan, I’m going to say they are pretty devoted to each other, and as a result of their devotion, they made the commitment to get married.
Devotion is a strong word, one we don’t use often really. I can say I love Starbucks, but I’m not devoted to Starbucks. I love bacon sandwiches, but I’m not devoted to them. I love country music, but I’m not devoted to it. In fact, the list of things I love is long, but the list of things I’m devoted to is short. I’m devoted to God, to my family and friends. There’s not a whole lot else really. In turn, I’m committed to those things.
Time to get honest though now. I might be devoted, and committed to God, but that doesn’t stop me from slipping up. I get scared, or I think I can do it alone – I stop reaching out for God’s hand. I decide moving across the world to study at bible college might be a terrible mistake, that maybe I should apply for 1 year instead of 3 – even though I know this is God’s plan for my life.
But I have good news! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NLT) no matter how far I draw back, he is a constant presence by my side. I love the picture ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo, because Adam is half heartedly reaching up to God – it’s a lazy reach. You know the reach – when the remote control is just out of reach so instead of moving, you just watch whatever comes on next. And God’s reach? He’s just about falling out of heaven to reach down to Adam. And he’s doing the same for you and me. No matter if we’re lazy reaching, like we do for the remote, or if we’re crazy stretching back to him.
I’ve been filled recently with craving to know more of God – I am devoted to him, I am committed, and now I want to know him more intimately and deeply. To strengthen my relationship with him and know him better. The bible tells me I’m not alone:
Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
Psalm 27:4 TPT
For just one day of intimacy with you is like a thousand days of joy rolled into one! I’d rather stand at the threshold in front of the Gate Beautiful, ready to go in and worship my God, than to live my life without you in the most beautiful palace of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10 TPT
We can so often choose to be cautious, staying on the fence until we know the full picture. But we just need to remember that we have a God that loves us so much and so deeply. As Bishop Michael said at Harry and Meghan’s wedding: “We were made by a power of love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that love, that’s why we’re here. Ultimately the source of love is God himself.”
God decided to show his love for us by sending his son to take all the blame that we deserved. So instead of burning incense and sacrificing lambs and goats, we can rejoice in Jesus’ sacrifice knowing we are saved by grace, not by our own works. We don’t need to do anything to earn the committed and devoted love of God. He’s falling out of heaven to reach you.
So I guess I’ll finish with this: “Speak the truth and live a life of purity and authentic love as you remain strong in your faith.” (1 Tim 4:12 TPT) I’m going to root myself deeper in God’s word in preparation for college. I’m going to allow myself to try to fulfill my craving to know God more. To allow my devotion and commitment to him to flourish.