As we studied through the Philippians 3 yesterday, and with a similar message during the morning’s sermon from Pastor Carter, I came up with the question mentioned above. Are you committed to God, or are you just dating Him?
Let’s take a look at this in detail:
- A commitment is defined as “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.” (Google 2nd definition)
- Dating, on the other hand, is defined by Wikipedia as “assessing the others suitability as a partner.”
Those are obviously very distinct and almost opposite definitions. One (dating) has lots of freedom to check compatibility, where the other (commitment) excludes freedom entirely and uses words such as “obligation, loyalty, legally bound.”
The word “restricts” is quite interesting in the definition of commitment. During our Sunday School lesson, we talked about behaviors that we need to modify. We spoke specifically that modifying (restricting) behaviors is one way to improve our walk with God. But…, we can modify our behavior and still not follow God! Therefore, we need to focus on God, and not focus on our behaviors. By focusing on God and following Him, our behaviors will naturally be modified indirectly.
Back to commitment…, an interesting level of maturity that Paul reached was one of not just following God, but following so closely that He wanted to “know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10). Although we can’t know exactly what Paul was trying to say, I think I have an idea.
For parents, I think a similar action is human instinct. When our child is in agony, we will do everything to have the pain removed from the child and put on us. We love our children to the extent that we will pray, begging, and asking why the circumstance could not be transferred to us instead of our child. We would die for our children. I think this is what Paul was trying to say: he would rather himself suffer and die than to have it happen to Christ.
Is this the type of relationship you have with Christ? I don’t know that I’ve reached the level of maturity that it seems Paul has described in this passage. What about you? As the famous Steve Brown on radio says “You think about that.”