Studies have shown that people who make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight–on average–have given up on their diet before the year is even three weeks old.
Ever wonder why it is that most people who go on a diet may do well for a week or two, but ultimately they fail? It is because they don’t make the total commitment to making the diet work. They cheat once, think they’ve blown the whole diet, and then they just give up.
They don’t show commitment by getting up and getting back to it.
If you fall off a horse, what are you supposed to do? Get right back on, of course! The idea being that if you don’t get back on, you’ll be scared to try again. But if you get back to it, you show determination and show that you aren’t going to let that horse beat you.
We’re all familiar with the scene where Charlie Brown runs to kick the football, and Lucy yanks it out of the way at the last second, with a sadistic smile. What you might not know is that she originally got scared at the last minute and let it drop. She didn’t follow through with her commitment. Just to prove it to you, here’s the original comic strip from 1952:
But how does this relate to our relationship with God?
God is willing to give you a new beginning, a fresh start, but it requires commitment for you to really get anything out of it. Thousands upon thousands of people have become Christians in the last year, but have they kept their commitment to God?
When you put on Christ in baptism, you’re making a commitment to serve God to the best of your ability. But what happens when you mess up? Should you just give up and stop trying?
NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!!
God understands that we’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to stumble. We’re going to fall. The big question is what are you going to do when you stumble?
Commitment means you get back up, confess your sin to God and try again (I John 1:9). God has promised to forgive you–as a Christian–of every sin you’ve committed, so long as you keep “walking in the light” (I John 1:7). That means that so long as you’re trying, so long as you’re getting back up when you fall, so long as you’re confessing the sins you know you’ve committed, God will forgive you of everything.
Commitment isn’t always easy, but it’s something that is required. You should know that going in, because Jesus said that you have to count the cost to be His disciple (Luke 9:62). You’ve got to keep to running to win the prize of eternal life in heaven with God (I Corinthians 9:24).
The old gospel preacher, the apostle Paul, was confident in his salvation because he had fought a good fight. He didn’t say that he fought a perfect fight, but that he fought a good fight. Sin hit him and hit him hard. He got depressed. But he kept getting back up. He didn’t let sin beat him. That’s commitment.
Commitment is also required for a new start in our physical relationships.
Eventually, if you keep doing the same stupid things over and over, your spouse is going to seriously question your sincerity and your commitment to your marriage. A man might ask his wife, “Can we start over?” or “Can we have a fresh start?” But it’s really just a ploy if he’s not committed to trying.
Don’t ask someone for a fresh start if you aren’t going to be committed to following through. The one who has sinned has no business asking the one he sinned against “can we start over?” if he’s not committed to doing better.
Starting over means being committed to doing it right.
Give it some thought.
-Bradley S. Cobb