Pat Riley, a famous basketball coach, has said, “There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing in life as ‘in between’.”
Of course he is right. There is also no ‘in between’ with the Lord. Either we are for Him or against Him. Either we’re committed or we’re not. Christ wrote to the ecclesia at Laodicea, “I know that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth!” James warns us, “Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.” In our walk in the truth, just as Pat Riley said, either we’re in or we’re out. We can’t be ‘in between’ with the Lord.
Commitment seems to be unpopular these days. Far too many couples refrain from getting married because they are afraid to make a commitment. Far too many employees just coast at work because they are not committed to doing a good job. Dr. Anthony Campollo has said, “What you commit yourself to determines what you are — more than anything that ever happened to you yesterday, or the day before.” Nido Qubein has said, “A decision is made with the brain. A commitment is made with the heart. Therefore, a commitment is much deeper and more binding than a decision.”
Each of us has to decide to commit our life wholly to the Lord if we want to receive His approval. Both David and his son, Solomon, comment on this point. David says, “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Solomon shows his agreement when he says, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
There is a well-known pattern: no commitment, no success. Especially in our competitive world, we can never be very successful in any endeavor without commitment because success rarely comes without effort, and usually requires enormous amounts of effort. The pattern holds true in the things of this life, and certainly applies if we want to receive the blessing of the Lord. Paul advises, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” On the other hand, there are clear warnings of what happens to those who do not make the effort:“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Why then do so many go through life just drifting, with no commitment, no real goal, no focus on the important things?
Fear is a possible answer. People are hesitant to make the giant leap necessary to be wholly committed. David Lloyd George, former prime minister of England, once said, “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” But it takes courage to take that first big step. Eddie Rickenbacker explained, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”
The Lord knows when we are afraid. Many faithful in the Bible were scared — we can tell because of what God tells them. God spoke to Joshua as he stood trembling before all the Israelites, wondering if he could ever fill the shoes of Moses who had just died, and said, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed.” God also said to Abram, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” The angel told Daniel, “Fear not, Daniel.” In Luke, we hear Gabriel saying, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard,” and, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.”
So what is the lesson for us? Fear not. Don’t be afraid. Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face. He asks us to take that giant leap of faith and commit ourselves to Him, knowing that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
Let us make our total commitment to God. There is nothing in between. As it says in Hebrews, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” We cannot give God a halfhearted life, a minimal effort. It is all or nothing. God wants us in His Kingdom; as Jesus has told us, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We can’t earn it, it is the gift of God, but He is not going to give it to those who are not committed to serving Him with all their might. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Robert J. Lloyd