A Godly Commitment Needed
February 21, 2017

Joshua 24:15

In 1519 Spanish explorer Cortez landed at Vera Cruz to begin his conquest of Mexico with only 700 men. Legend has it that before they set off into Mexico’s interior Cortez ordered the ships to be burned while his men watched their only means of retreat sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Now there was only one direction they could take.

Commitments are quickly becoming outdated, as people are reluctant to make commitments without having loopholes built into them.

Take marriages for example. One comic strip had one man speaking to another saying, “You know, it’s odd, but now that I’m actually engaged I’m starting to feel nervous about getting married!”

The other man replied, “I know what you mean. It’s only natural to be nervous! Marriage is a big commitment. Seven or eight years can be a long time!”

Today marriages are no longer long-term commitments. No longer are they until death do us part. Rather it’s until people no longer feel like it, and that’s because marriages today are built around feelings, not commitments. Instead of working it out it’s “Let’s call it quits and go our separate ways. And we can still be friends.” Yeah right, and what planet are they from.

We live in a world where long-term commitments are no longer wanted or desired. This is true in marriage, work, and even the church. Today we fear commitments and live by the creed, “I want to keep my options open.” In other words, we don’t want to get to the end of the buffet line and find out we have no more room on our plates for the cake and ice cream.

People today just don’t want to make commitments, and because of it they’re missing out on building a great life for themselves and for their family. When we make a commitment we’re choosing how we’re going to invest our lives, time, and resources. And when we refuse to make life’s most important commitments, that that is faith in Jesus Christ, we’re missing out on a life that will count for all eternity.

The sad reality is that a lot of those who go to church today won’t be seen in the next two to five years in the church. Some will leave the community, be a part of another church, but the majority won’t be found in any church.

One of the main reasons is that they didn’t or wouldn’t fully commit to God. They refuse to burn the ships in the harbor, and so when things get rough they retreat to the comfort of the ships and the old land they left behind.

Today’s churches are filled with casual Christians, and while they say they’re following the Lord, in reality they’re following the world, or worshiping in ways not prescribed by God.

If we’re ever going to see a spiritual revival, then a commitment needs to be made by Christians much like the commitment made by Joshua.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV)

What’s so fascinating about what Joshua said is that he was at the end of his life and was reaffirming the same commitment to the Lord that he made early on. As a young man Joshua was committed to God as he would stay at the tabernacle day and night. Even at the prospect of being put to death, Joshua stood firm on God’s promise when the whole of Israel threatened him.

Because of his commitment to God, God honored him making him Israel’s leader after Moses’ death, which saw him leading Israel into the Promised Land. And now, after they were securely settled, Joshua asked them to make a commitment to God, and then before them all he states his commitment saying, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15b NKJV)

This wasn’t some hidden decision where if things didn’t work out he could silently slip away with nobody knowing the difference. He said it loud and proud. It was open for all to see and hear.

As Christians when we come into that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we’re making that same commitment. We’re saying yes to Jesus, that we will follow Him, keep His word, and serve Him with the whole of our lives.

So what does our commitment to God entail? What does it look like in real time?

In reviewing Joshua’s commitment what we see is that it involves two aspects. It begins with a personal commitment, “But as for me,” and then a commitment to others, “and my house.”

Let’s begin and look at three major commitments we make to God

  1. It Entails Our Will

Let’s take a look at what Jesus said remembering that He said this knowing that He was at the end of His life and mission.

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39 NKJV)

Jesus understood the cost of commitment, His life. But still He kept true to His course and commitment, acceding to His Father’s will and dying upon the cross. Yet in His prayer He desired differently, but gave up what He wanted and did what the Father wanted.

Our will is the process by which we make decisions. What Jesus did was to give over that decision-making process from what He wanted and placed His life squarely into the Father’s hands. He exchanged His wants and desires for that of the Father’s.

As believers in Jesus Christ, and therefore His followers, we need to understand the cost of this commitment as well. Jesus actually mentioned what that cost would be so there would be no confusion when it comes to our commitment.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)

To take up one’s cross was to walk towards one’s death. Today we’d say that He was a dead man walking. And so when we take up our crosses we’re dead men and women walking.

James Calvert was a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands. The ship’s captain tried to dissuade Calvert saying he’d lose his life. But Calvert replied that he had already died before even making the trip.

As we come before the Lord and say we’re followers of Jesus, the Lord needs this same commitment from us. “Not as I will, but as You will Lord. No longer will it be what I want, but rather what You decide is best for my life.”

  1. It Entails Our Finances

“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 NKJV)

God’s people were commanded to give God their firstfruits, which not only meant the first of what they made, but also the best. This is clearly portrayed as Jesus was called the firstfruits from the dead. (1 Corinthians 20:23)

And while this centers on our finances, it also involves every area of our lives including our time, energy, and possessions.

What it really boils down to it our motives. In other words, it should all be coming from a heart that is totally in love with God, and our giving is just one of the ways we express or put this love into action

But Solomon doesn’t leave it at that but continues by making the connection between one’s giving to God and God’s blessings. Jesus speaks of such blessings when He tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then our basic needs will be met. (Matthew 6:33)

And so we are to honor the Lord with our possessions and the first fruit of our increase, which is what the Bible says we are to do in the giving of our tithes. This is another way we can show our commitment to God.

  1. It Entails Our Agendas

If we go up a couple of verses in Proverbs we see how the Lord views this.

In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

Solomon says that we are to trust the Lord with all our hearts and not lean upon our own understanding. In the Hebrews language this means to cling to and lean upon. What we’re being told is that we need to cling to and lean upon the Lord with the whole of our being.

To trust in the Lord is to place our hope in Him and to lean hard into Jesus and not upon our own understanding. That is, we’re not to base our decisions upon our take of the situations were facing.

The reason is simple, we’re fallible beings fully capable of making mistakes. Therefore we need God’s guidance if we’re ever going to make it through to the other side.

We’re also told to acknowledge God in all our ways. To acknowledge in the Hebrew language doesn’t mean to assent to His presence; rather it means to get to know God in an intimate way, much like a husband or wife is to know their spouse.

Such intimacy can only happen by spending time with God. Someone once said that if we spend as much time with our spouses as we do with God, then the divorce would skyrocket.

Please understand that we’re called the bridegroom of Christ, not a distant relative.

Therefore trusting God along with taking the time to personally know Him, will result in God getting intimately involved in our lives showing us the good and right path to take through this life.

It was this very thing of making God’s agenda theirs that saw the first church grow so fast and dramatically.

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46a, 47b NKJV)

They allowed the Lord’s agenda to be theirs, and God added daily to their number.

When we follow God’s agenda, doing church His way, then we’ll see similar results in our own lives, the lives of our family and the life of the church.

This is the first part then of Joshua’s overall commitment, that is, a personal commitment. But Joshua also talked about commitments to relationships when he talked about his household.

Jesus spoke about this when He gave the second part to the Great Commandment, and that is to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Mark 12:31)

Within the first church there is an interesting reference saying,

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul.” (Acts 4:32 NKJV)

Earlier we saw where they were all in one accord, but now they’re of one heart and soul as well. What we see is that there is nothing like coming together and putting our differences aside for the good of God’s kingdom. Nothing substitutes for it!

Earlier I made mention that some will not remain in the church because many of them will no longer be walking with God. The reason is that there are some barriers what we erect to making commitments.

  1. Past Experiences
  • We are often afraid to make commitments because we’ve been hurt in the past. Maybe it was a bad relationship that now prevents us from getting close to anyone because we don’t want to be hurt like that again.
  • Maybe it was a bad experience in a church therefore we never commit to any church.

Our past experiences, more often than not, sabotage every future potential commitment. Therefore we need to stop allowing our past to determine our future. Our past can be used as a guide, but not as some dictatorial ruler.

  1. Selfishness

It is estimated that selfishness is the number one reason why commitments fail. If you say you love your family and spend absolutely no time with them, then all you’re doing is paying lip service to the commitment.

Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve our possessions and God as the same time. We cannot say we love God and at the same time commit ourselves to worldly pursuits.

Now, this is not saying we cannot be successful at our jobs or careers, but what this is saying is that in all we do God needs to be our number one priority. This is actually the first commandment, which is not having any other gods in front of or taking the place of the Lord God in our lives.

And by the way, not committing to anything is the height of selfishness.

  1. Complacency

Complacency kills commitments and prevents us from following God’s call upon our lives.

One spring morning a flock of geese flew over a farm where a group of tame ducks floated in the pond. When these ducks heard the call of the geese it was like an arrow struck deep within them and they began to flap their wings. The only problem is that they never left the water.

In their hearts the matter was settled, the corn of the barnyard was more tempting than the call of the wild, the call of God. Their desire to fly with the geese made them uncomfortable because of their complacency.

I cannot tell you how many ministries have been thwarted or never realized because of this one thing.


God needs a church that is totally committed to Him. What that means is that we need to be 100 percent devoted to God, His word, way, and will. When this happens then we’ll see what the early church saw.

Look at what that small handful of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ did. They evangelized the entire world in a single generation. Studies have actually confirmed that just 2 percent of a population can change the culture of an entire nation. This is why we don’t need a moral majority, but rather a committed minority who will live for Christ.

Being a casual Christian is a contradiction in terms. It’s like saying we’re only partially pregnant. Ladies, is there such a thing as being only partially pregnant? You either are or you’re not.

Today make that commitment to fully follow Jesus. Today have the courage to be like Joshua and commit.


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