You Should Be Committed! Part 3

So far in this series, I’ve discussed the importance of being committed to Christ regardless of your circumstances. A true disciple of Christ should never put his faith in his circumstances or in any contrivance of the world. Economies grow and shrink, cultures always degrade over time, the political pendulum swings, the Church of Jesus Christ falls in and out of favor with the society around it, but God never changes. He is always the same no matter how you may feel about it. And He can be depended upon through all the ups and downs of your life; through all the stages of your life, as long as you’re committed to Him. If it seems as though God has abandoned you, He hasn’t. The problem is with you. He’s still there, waiting on you to get a grip, straighten out, and call out to Him.

A truly committed believer is committed from the inside out. He doesn’t obey the Lord and follow His will because he has to grudgingly, but because he wants to; because he has discovered that God’s way is the right way, no matter what.

A truly committed believer lives in the world but is not of the world. His natural self lives in the here and now, but he understands that it’s only temporary; that he’s just passing through, that his citizenship is really in Heaven above. And he lives like that. He respects the world in which he has found himself, but longs to wholly and forever home in the Kingdom of God where he knows he belongs.

This time out, I want to focus on another aspect of being committed. It’s found in Psalm 37 –

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this…. (Psalm 37:5 | TNIV)

Some background info

Psalm 37 is what Bible scholars call a “wisdom psalm.” Bible scholars love to label things, especially psalms. You could say all the psalms are full of wisdom, actually. But Psalm 37 is particularly so. In fact, as you read through it, is “feels” more like it belongs in the book of Proverbs or in Job. It’s rich in wisdom; it’s wise sayings literally drip with the wisdom of eternity.

One of the things that characterizes any “wisdom psalm,” and there are quite a few of those psalms, is contrast, specifically the contrast between the way of wickedness and the way of wisdom. And really, that’s what life boils down to, doesn’t it? Each and every day you and I are forced to chose between doing the right thing or the wrong thing. We forced to chose sides in an argument or a debate. We can adopt a godly attitude or a sinful one. The difference between reading a lovely Psalm about this and actually living it is that in life, you have to make the choice in a split second. Rarely do you have time to ponder the ramifications of one choice over the other. And that’s why you, as a committed Christian, need to nurture a Biblical worldview. We all need to get the point where the teachings of Scripture are so ingrained in the core of our being that we never need to “think” about the right choice, we will simply “know” which is the right choice and why. Are you there yet? If you’re like the majority of Christians in America, you aren’t. It’s not all your fault. By and large, the Church has done a terrible job of teaching its members about a Biblical worldview. And if you have no idea what that is, it may be time for you to change churches!

Titled simply “A psalm of David,” Psalm 37 is the first of three psalms that deal with the prickly problem of the prosperity of the wicked. The other two psalms that cover this topic are Psalm 49 and Psalm 73. Actually, this is an age-old issue that seems to have plagued mankind for as long people have noticed that other people have more than they. Much of the wisdom literature (in particular, the Book of Job) is given to pondering this theme. King David, a man of incredible wealth for some of his life, concluded that the prosperity of the wicked is but temporary. The key to the psalm is its opening injunction, “Do not fret.” And that’s really the best advice anybody can heed. The rest of this psalm simply supports those three words. Fretting is a terrible, insidious sin that will ruin your life as surely as ink will stain your shirt.

It’s all about commitment

The thing David figured out was that no matter who was getting ahead or why, YOU should simply be committed to God. The temptation is to look around at other people’s circumstances and compare them to yours. David was right. If that’s how you live, you’ll spend your time fretting. The cold hard reality is that some people will be far better off than you, and some of them may have gotten that way using less than honest means. Nevertheless, verse 2 is an unalterable law of the universe:

…for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. (Psalm 37:2 | TNIV)

In other words, so what if some people – people of questionable character – are prospering? Nothing is every permanent; not their wealth, and not your seeming lack. The “wrong people” may gain power and prestige and they may abuse that power, resulting in other people suffering. Regardless of how well off the nefarious may be, they are still mere mortals who live on a planet that remains under God’s just and sovereign rule. In His kingdom the wicked may thrive like grass and plants, but they will not stand up under adversity: they will whither and die away.

How should the godly live in the shadow the wicked prospering? One thing they shouldn’t do is entertain negative emotions. Keep that up and they will destroy you! Instead, the committed Christian needs to develop a godly perspective.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3, 4 | TNIV)

Anger, jealousy, and resentment are such negative, dangerous emotions that they will, in short order, destroy your faith in God’s goodness and righteousness and will, guaranteed, corrupt your inner attitude toward anything and everything. Nothing you have or do will ever be good enough if you think your God is treating others better than you. So rather than be a jerk about it, trust God! Do something for somebody else – think about others instead of your self! Enjoy your life; enjoy what you have. If you do that and if you “delight in the Lord,” that is, if you learn to appreciate His presence in your life and you find ways to build up your love relationship with Him, then and only then will your time come! God will bless you in ways that you never thought possible.

It all comes down to the quality of your commitment to God:

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:5, 6 | TNIV)

What does it mean to “commit your way to the Lord?” That’s an interesting phrase that we need to understand if we want to get this right. It’s not a mindless act; it’s not simple abandonment David is talking about. It is actively dealing with the negativism of your life; it is striving to eliminate the anger, the jealousy, and the resentment from your soul.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:3, 4 | TNIV)

Just look at those two verses and take special notice of the order. Before you do anything, give it to the Lord. Whatever your project may be, if you are wanting to live a God-centered life, think of Him first; consider Him before you consider what to do. If you commit your action to the Lord, or if you dedicate a certain action or decision to God, He will cause it to succeed. That second sentence is profound in its implications: “The Lord work out everything to its proper end.” That’s a statement of His Sovereignty. There is a “proper end,” for the righteous and the wicked. You need to focus on that – are you a righteous person or a wicked one? Most people are busy focusing on the temporary rewards of something they are involved in. But you should be concerned about the kind of person you are. That will effect your eternal destiny. The right kind of person – the righteous person – is the one who thinks of God first, then acts second. That kind of person will find success in this life and the next.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6, 7 | TNIV)

Most of us are very familiar with verse 7. We hear it all the time in church, usually when the preacher is praying. How many times, do you think, have you been encouraged to “cast your cares or your anxiety on Him because He cares for you?” If you’re like me, probably more times than you can remember! It’s good advice; it’s Biblical advice. But why do that? It’s not so that you can sleep better at night, although that will be one result. It’s not to eliminate stress headaches, although that will happen. Committed Christians should hand off all their cares and anxieties to God so that “He may lift you up in due time.” That goes back to what David said in our Psalm: If you will commit your way – your life in total – to God, then He will make your righteous reward obvious for all to see and you will be vindicated before all the people you thought were doing so much better than you!

Now that’s really something, isn’t it? So many Christians are missing out on a truly satisfying experience because they are busy being busy bodies! They’re so busy measuring themselves against others, they aren’t giving the Lord a chance to work things out so that THEY themselves would be noticed by the very people they think are all that! There’s no other way to interpret what’s being said here. If a committed believer puts God first in all areas of his life and dedicates his attitudes and actions to the Lord and trusts that Lord will bring him success, then the Lord will not only do that but He will exalt the committed believer in the face of the very people other believers are fretting over.

But really, none of that can happen until you put into practice 1 Peter 5:6. A committed believer must – must – humble himself before the Lord. The exact wording is: “Humble yourselves…under God’s mighty hand.” Sounds like a bad thing, but really it isn’t. In the Old Testament, “God’s Hand” symbolized two things: His discipline and His deliverance. When the difficult times come into your life – and they will – your attitude will make all the difference in the world. Understand that God uses those things to discipline you – to make you stronger; to cause your faith to grow and mature, but at the same time, He delivers you. God is capable to doing both. Like any good father, God disciplines those He loves and He delivers those He loves from bad situations. What all that boils down to is simply this: No matter what is happening in your life – good or bad – it’s all under God’s control. Only a fool would think otherwise.

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