I think we are seeing “relationship” being redefined. Marketing people want us to have a relationship with our grocer, with our bank, with our cars and with our soft drink brands. Did you know that if a soft drink company can get you convinced at a young age that their brand is best, you will stick with that brand for the rest of your life? I can attest to that. I still prefer the brand that was in tall glass bottles sitting in the wooden case on the floor of my grandfather’s kitchen.
On the internet, social media sites also focus on “relationship.” But unlike our favorite soda brand, I see people going in and out of relationships as often as the seasons change.
Whatever happened to commitment? I’m not talking about favorite soda brands. What about life changing commitment that includes accountability? When we get a job, if we don’t perform, we are called to accountability. There are certain standards and rules we must follow or we get fired. It is a balance of commitment and accountability. We’re all used to that concept.
When we get married we promise to love and cherish, until death do us part. It’s a commitment. Yes, there should also be accountability. That’s why we have all of our friends and relatives come and witness our wedding. We become committed to the whole family. And when we start our own families, we are committed to our children. Whether we like it or not, our spouses and our children hold us accountable. We’re also accountable to God, especially if we are married in a church. In Ephesians 5:21 it says we are to be “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” That’s commitment with accountability!
Did you know that the Bible describes our relationship with God as a marriage? It continues in Ephesians 5: 25 saying “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Now that’s commitment in the picture of sacrificial love. This is not love based on performance. It is love, based on commitment, based on a promise.
How did Jesus love us? He committed Himself 100%.
How much are we to love God? Jesus said, “And you shall love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength.’ This is the first commandment,”- Mark 12:30. Notice FOUR TIMES the use of the word ALL. It means 100%. Not holding back. Not compromising.
Compare that “ALL” command to the institution of marriage. If I were asked what percentage of the day I am married, would I say 85%, 90%? My wife would not appreciate that! If I were to ask if you were a committed follower of Jesus Christ, would you say 85%, 90%? It’s hard to find people who are even committed one hour a week on Sunday!
Being partially committed to your spouse is like being partially married. You either are or you’re not. We used to call it being a “two-timer.” God calls it adultery. Being partially committed to the faith is the same thing. God, through the Old Testament prophets, would often speak of His followers as an adulterous nation, but not in a sexual way. They sought other gods, other distractions, in addition to the one true God.
Why does that matter?
Jesus talks about it in Matthew 7: 21, "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven…” Jesus goes on to explain what happens to those who don’t have a committed relationship with God. “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
I never knew you! That’s a relationship problem! What will happen to your marriage if you only hang out with one another an hour per week? It’s going to fade from hot to lukewarm, isn’t it?
In His letter to the church at Laodicea, Jesus says "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ —and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—“
Is this where America is today? How is your commitment? Are you hot or cold?
Pastor Jay Merritt