Saying the C… Word

Christianity – is not so simple you know? We use a lot of words that make little to no sense – and we do little to explain them. I have noticed there is a divide in this faith concerning what is and isn’t true about God…and that’s fun stuff but we need to deal with us – not God – so God can have wings for all I care. 

Anyways, I have been thinking about one of these words – commitment. This is a word that is never used in current Christian circles concerning conversion (huge alliteration there in case you never noticed).

Think about it – what is conversion really all about anyways? Isn’t it just as simple as making a commitment to follow/enact the foundational teachings of/concerning God? That’s what seems obvious to me. 

We come to faith – we say a prayer or what have you – and we basically are making an agreement to follow God. We can break that agreement at any time if we choose or we can continue in that commitment and build upon the foundation we’ve received. 

It’s nothing more than a commitment to God – plain and simple. If some do not want to accept this commitment – that’s their choice…and if some do…that is also their choice. But nonetheless – it’s a commitment – like marriage is a commitment between mutual parties. There is always a choice of whether of not to keep the thing going or to terminate what was once good. 

Commitment. Conversion. Contract. Covenant. Choice is the greatest of all these.

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25 thoughts on “Saying the C… Word

  1. no no no! everything that happens is the will of God SVS. how the world works to how your Yahoo fantasy football team was drafted! in fact, whether or not i put milk or honey on my cereal is God’s choice not mine… nevermind the fact that i’m lactose intolerant, it’s because it was GOD’s WILL that i’m like this! same with the invation of Iraq, the rape of one of my friends, the holocaust, and why I backed into that Geo Metro.

    all God’s will. no choice at all.

    😉

  2. I think the only “C” word that makes any sense is “choice.” Commitment, like so many others “concepts” in Christianity is little more than a word in most circles. It’s easy to throw the banter around, and talk about grandiose beliefs and faceless morality. But when it comes to living life … wow, don’t we like to look around a lot more than look inside? I think we really only “believe” that which we’re willing to live out. If your life doesn’t reflect your belief, what’s the point? Pretty words I can get in poetry books. Show me something, if you want me to listen to you.

  3. I believe that God’s choice is directive and our choice is responsive. God’s Will over-rides any choice we make but still, He allows us our free will and works it within His Will to serve His own purpose in the end.

    I agree that commitment is important but it isn’t enough to keep me going. My faith is a relationship with a living, supreme, spiritual being. It is not dedication to a written code. I am committed to God because I am loved by Him. My obedience to what is taught in the Bible is an outflowing of that relationship. Without the relationship, I would have no interest in the teachings.

  4. I am not committed to God…but rather He is committed to me.

    “We are faithless…He is faithful.”

    Jesus said “you don’t choose me…I choose you.”

    In the gospel of John,1st Chapter it says, “we are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    We have free will when it comes to choosing everything…but God. Our will is in bondage to sin. We do not want God. But…He wants us!

    (that ought to rattle a few cages…it always does)

  5. Are you committed? How committed are you? How do you gauge your level of commitment? Is it sufficient? How do you know? Are you sure?

    Personally, I can’t trust my own commitment, faith, or anything. But I can’t trust Christ’s commitment and faith. I have to. Nothing else works. Especially not mine. Definitely not mine!

    I can’t be trusted.

  6. BruceD

    Hows it going Bruce. Long time no talk.

    Or course you can trust your commitment. In reality how you view Christ is based totally on your commitment to how you view the scriptures about him.

  7. “I have noticed there is a divide in this faith concerning what is and isn’t true about God” SVS

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. It like that song, you say “toe-MAY-toe” and I say “toe-MOT-toe”. I think the problem is words.

    Words cannot express the true feeling we have inside our minds and hearts. If I say I like G-d, someone may think that I do not “love” G-d and I am not a good person. But the word “like” may mean more to me that the word “love” (Which is true for me by the way)

    If I say I am not a Christian but a G-d follower. Someone will jump all over me and say I am going to hell because I do not believe the way they do. Because to them it’s a matter of words, and not the heart. When did saying the right words become more important than living the right life?

  8. “Without the relationship, I would have no interest in the teachings.” (Pam)

    How we define that relationship is going to vary from person to person – or even denomination to denomination…but I agree. The teachings lead us into a relationship/friendship with God – at least that’s the intention. However, like any good friendship or relationship – there will be an aspect of commitment.

    “I am not committed to God…but rather He is committed to me.” (Steve)

    So this is a 100% thing – only from God’s side? You play no part in the friendship with God? And how can you be sure of a commitment that is so one-sided where you play no part or any role of responsibility? If am sure if marriage worked this way – we’d have a 100% divorce rate instead of 50%. Just saying.

    “We have free will when it comes to choosing everything…but God. Our will is in bondage to sin. We do not want God. But…He wants us!” (Steve)

    I believe there is a vast amount of proof for the idea of commitment through-out the pages of the bible from Torah to Paul’s letters. The view we cannot choose to know God is practically unheard of in the Torah. Not one person is singled out in the community of Israel – all have the ability to know God if they so much as desire it.

    Maybe people cannot choose God – but if you think about it – this is a rather sedicious view. So God willingly chooses to ignore some people? Ignore some countries? Ignore some hurt and pain of people?

    I believe God wants us – but we do not want him (this is all based on one’s choice then). Even if God wants us – he cannot robotically control us – He did not create us that way – we have to choose to ‘accept’ the graciousness. No?

    “But I can trust Christ’s commitment and faith. I have to. Nothing else works. Especially not mine” (Bruced)

    I have mulled this position over in my head for quite some time now and have come to the conclusion – this is vicarious faith/righteousness. I cannot think of any other practical place in human relations where this idea can or would be accepted – someone being made more whole by someone else’s actions. It’s a (a) unjust and (b) irresponsible.

    If I committ I crime – should I not answer for it? If I am in the wrong with my actions – should I not make things right? If I am doing good things – should I not be thanked for my work? Should someone be able to pay for my crime or take the thanks for the good I do? I figure – honor where honor is due – and shame where shame is due. Each person is to be dealt with according to their actions…no?

    But if I am made whole by the actions of another – then if someone is wrongly convicted for the actions of another – and they die (innocent) for that crime – the other person should be made more whole. This is the position you have stated – is it not?

    “Are you committed? How committed are you? How do you gauge your level of commitment? Is it sufficient? How do you know? Are you sure?” (Bruced)

    Balance is the only word needed here. I do not see why things have to be all in one direction – which is a measure weighed unevenly. If one is overly committed to God – they lose site of here and now – doing an injustice to themselves and their loved ones. If one is too committed to just their human needs – they lose sight of the bigger picture and the value of others.

    I will also point out the obvious – Jesus teaches something very clearly concerning ‘worrying’ – don’t waste your time doing it…since by worrying you cannot change a situation at all. The question you asked are about ‘worrying’ about one’s commitmment to God…this isn’t something a person should worry about. If they feel their commitment to God is waning – they can take whatever steps they need to remedy that – but too worry it’s not enough is actually against the teachings of Jesus.

    “When did saying the right words become more important than living the right life?” (Wolf)

    True, I agree. I speak of commitment in terms of one’s living choices – not words.

    “If I had to trust in my commitment to Christ…I would surely be a dead man.” (Steve)

    I don’t think so…that’s exaggerational rhetoric. But if you think this is so – why? What is it about you that God hates so much – that no matter how hard you try – God cannot love it?

  9. God doesn’t hate me, He loves me. That’s why He died for me and forgave my sins.

    But my sinful nature makes a mockery of my commitment. I can barely get through a prayer sometimes without my mind wandering to other plans or situations in my life. I have to catch myself and get back to speaking to God.

    So while I am not serious about my commitment to Him, He certainly is serious about loving and forgiving me.

    I’ve found it’s similar to the relationship that I have with my own kids. I know they are preoccupied with their lives and that they don’t think of me like maybe I would like…but I still love ’em and forgive ’em.

  10. As soon as we believe that we are responsibile for our own righteousness, we are in trouble. If we think our commitment makes us righteous, we miss the mark. If we think our dedication makes us righteous, we are trusting only ourselves. If we think our obedience makes us righteous, we are only setting ourselves up for big disappointment. If we think our discipline makes us righteous, we fall short. Counting on anything other than His righteousness, is self-righteousness. And that’s what Christ came to help us eliminate.

    I agree that relationship begins 100% with God. And as we understand how complete and unrelenting his love is for us, we find ourselves inexplicably drawn to him. If we have to “push” ourselves to him through our attempts at self-righteousness, we don’t understand God’s grace, and the only relationship we have with him will depend on “how we’re doing” at that particular point in time.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to convince you to believe anything. It really doesn’t matter what you believe because God’s love is greater than you and your beliefs. That alone will set you free from yourself, if you will allow yourself to trust God that much. Until we can remove ourselves (and our selfishness) from the equation, we will never experience true relationship with God… the way he meant it to be… without doubt, without fear, without shame, and without guilt.

    Sadly, most of us may never trust God that much.

  11. “God doesn’t hate me, He loves me. That’s why He died for me and forgave my sins.” (Steve)

    Are you sure? I am only going by this statement “If I had to trust in my commitment to Christ…I would surely be a dead man.”

    Your statement, in quotations, basically says no matter what commitment you give – you’d be a dead man (before God). Since I know some of your theology – I know Christ’s faith is good enough for you – nonetheless – you are still trying for that connection to God on some minor level.

    So I stated “What is it about you that God hates so much – that no matter how hard you try – God cannot love it?”

    I am actually saying, via my quotation, that God loves that you try and isn’t asking for much more. So no, God doesn’t hate you – but I didn’t need to drop the idea of commitment to arrive at this conclusion either.

    “So while I am not serious about my commitment to Him, He certainly is serious about loving and forgiving me.” (Steve)

    True…but what does it matter that God contains these things inside Him? When all that matters is if you contain teachings in your life. I actually don’t really care if God loves the whole world and a few planets we have not found yet – that isn’t going to make you or I better people by virtue of this knowledge?

  12. “Counting on anything other than His righteousness, is self-righteousness. And that’s what Christ came to help us eliminate.” (Bruce)

    I don’t think it is self-righteous to want to better your life via the enabling of the teachings in one’s life…anything but in my opinion. I am not Christ came to help us give up our trying either – since that is basically a rudimentary human function to change in one’s life (you must practice to become better at something).

    I think it is self-righteous when one does these things to ‘show others up’ or ‘look down upon others’…which is not the intention of any of the teachings at their base meaning.

    Trying to better one’s life is not self righteous…if it is…then explain why this is so?

    “I agree that relationship begins 100% with God” (Bruce)

    I am in agreeance to a point…the point I hold back is the creation of the human species. I think we are created for relation with the creator – this is an innate ability inside the human to delve into…and this by choice or need.

  13. BruceD

    “It really doesn’t matter what you believe because God’s love is greater than you and your beliefs. That alone will set you free from yourself, if you will allow yourself to trust God that much. Until we can remove ourselves (and our selfishness) from the equation, we will never experience true relationship with God… the way he meant it to be… without doubt, without fear, without shame, and without guilt.'(BruceD)

    If you really believe Christ did it for everyone, and it isnt we who go to him, then why does it matter if we are all sellfish, murderous, hateful, lustful, and any other bad thing you can think of. Because if I follow your logic it doesnt matter what the fuck I do. Oops did I swear… oh yeah it doesnt matter.

    By the way, I hope life is treating you well 😉

  14. Life is great, John. Possibly better than it’s ever been! (Will fill you in off-line)

    I hope the same for you!

    I never said that there would be consequences for bad behavior. That, my friend, is a fact of life on earth. But it is my contention that your behavior has no effect on God’s love for you. He made you and placed you in this great experiment called Humanity, and he knows that the world will do to you exactly what it was made to do. Certainly, there are things you can do to attempt to diminish the pain and suffering you will inevitably experience. You can practice morality. You can give of yourself to others. You strive do your best to get along with people. All those things are great. They might even make your life happier… easier. But, none of it will have any effect on God’s opinion of you. And if you will permit yourself to see God this way… trust his love that much… peace will permeate your life. And the more perfect the peace, the more natural your moral and civil choices become. Just as God gave of himself for you, you will be inclined to give of yourself to others… even lay down your life (possibly literally, but surely figuratively) for your friends. That is the beginning of peace on earth… everyone giving of themselves for their friends. But, it doesn’t come from our “doing it”, it comes from our inexplicable response to what has been done for us. That is a love so amazing that, when fully realized, changes the way we think about everything. And it will change the world.

  15. Societyvs,

    The connection to God was (and is continued) by God Himself. He gives us the faith that we need to believe in Him. (faith is a gift)

    He doesn’t leave it up to us to grab this faith that just floats around in thin air so He uses conduits, Baptism, Holy Communion (commanded by Jesus) and His Word. The sacraments are actually visable Word (the Word being Christ Himself – Gospel of John Chapter 1)

    Goofy stuff, this theology of the cross. It’s so different than what we would do, that we would have never cooked it up!

    I believe that you can become a better person by following God’s law and trying, and doing your best. But I also believe that you will never be a better Christian than at the moment you were baptised. Because in your baptism God is the Actor on your behalf…drowning you into the death of Christ and raising you into the life of the resurrected Christ (Romans 6).

  16. “The connection to God was (and is continued) by God Himself. He gives us the faith that we need to believe in Him. (faith is a gift)” Steve Martin

    I would agree with this, it’s the same reason I don’t have to have faith in Santa or the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Easter bunny have enough commitment and faith for all of us. It’s also why we are all Hindu and Muslims, because Vishnu and Allah have enough commitment to us, so we don’t have to believe. The Easter Bunny’s righteousness is all I need.

    Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, because it is. So is your arguement.

  17. It’s not ridiculous at all. That’s why so many people believe the Hindu, Muslim, and Easter Bunny messages. And that’s why it is so important that everyone have the opportunity to hear the message of the Cross of Christ. Not hearing the message will not change their standing with God (unless you feel that God only loves those who first love him, correctly enough, deeply enough, and thoroughly enough), but understanding the love of God as revealed through the Cross of Christ (the redemption of all mankind) will set them free to experience God in more meaningful and life-changing ways. I think everyone needs to hear that message. I think Christianity needs to hear that message… but that’s just me.

    Faith comes by hearing the story of the redemption of creation through Jesus. It is not something we are required to conjure up as a means of self preservation.

    Commitment comes by hearing the message of God’s unfailing commitment to us. It is not a requirement placed on us by a demanding God, looking for attention.

    Relationship comes by understanding that God has already secured relationship with us. It’s not something we are obligated to build with him… because he already painted the picture (with us in it), and is patiently waiting for us to see it.

    Nah… that’s just silly!

  18. “Faith comes by hearing the story of the redemption of creation through Jesus. It is not something we are required to conjure up as a means of self preservation.

    Commitment comes by hearing the message of God’s unfailing commitment to us. It is not a requirement placed on us by a demanding God, looking for attention.

    Relationship comes by understanding that God has already secured relationship with us. It’s not something we are obligated to build with him… because he already painted the picture (with us in it), and is patiently waiting for us to see it.

    Nah… that’s just silly!” Bruce

    Yes, it is silly, because as a non-believer, this sounds ridiculous. I do not share your opinion or assumption of Christianity. Christianity is not the most advanced or mature or right or logical or only message. Christianity is just one of a billion voices in this world whose message is not better, just different (as are all religions or messages, not better or worse, jsut different). I have to agree with SVS, choice is the only thing that matters. I choose what is right or better, for me and for me alone. I don’t want a faith who has a god who has decided that their faith/relationship is best for me, because that is elitist.
    (I am not saying all religions lead to G-d or or preach the same message) I am saying that a religion that teaches that a god has determined for me what is best, is ridiculous. I agree with SVS, the only thing that matters is choice. Choice is G-d! Choice decides the fate of this world, my life, and effects everything in the universe. Not my individual choice, (please understand me) but the power of choice we all have. Collectively they change the world. Jesus made a choice to preach and teach and be who he was. So has Buddha, so has Mohamet, so has Gandhi, so have you and I, and all these choices combined have shaped this world, not a god or gods. all of humanity has done it.

    But this message is neither right or wrong, just different.

  19. I actually do agree with Bruce and Steve on the point of God’s unwavering love for humanity – this is not an earned thing – it is free to all. I agree we don’t have to really do anything to earn that…God is love and by nature will love us.

    However, I think choice is tantamount in that connection with God (and His love). God can love someone beyond their actual belief or reality of being able to accept love – but if they continually reject it or not believe it (including from others) – then they do not have the love of God in themselves. They will look to other realities for that love or connection. This is all predicated on choice.

    And that’s what my concern is – people’s character – not God’s character (no need to worry there). God can be all the love in the world – but if humans cannot recieve it or refuse it – then who cares how much love God has…God isn’t the one going to steal my car or physically harm me for no good reason. The crux of faith is choice – on a very human level – in the here and now.

    So for me, God’s love is very important – but so is the other 50% of that equation – human choice. I think faith is a gift – but a gift we are born with and do not have to be given in that sense (later on I mean). From a very young age I conceived of God in my mind – I was taught also young – but it made sense to me at 5 or 6 or 10.

  20. However, I think choice is tantamount in that connection with God (and His love). God can love someone beyond their actual belief or reality of being able to accept love – but if they continually reject it or not believe it (including from others) – then they do not have the love of God in themselves. They will look to other realities for that love or connection. This is all predicated on choice. (Jason)

    I like this idea…………and dont we all look to other realities from time to time. 😉

  21. I’m amazed that our “choice” can be more powerful than the One who created us. That makes us pretty powerful, but I guess if we are created in his image, then maybe we DO have that kind of power.

    I think we’re thinking along the same lines, but I tend to take things a little further and think that, if God is truly omnipotent, we are not really making a choice as to whether or not we accept his love, but simply awakening to the reality that his love will not be deterred by our lack of response.

    All I know is that I have never been so settled in his love, and so at peace with creation, as I have since concluding that the relationship solidly exists whether I like it or not. Taking myself, and my flimsy commitment, out of the equation finally allowed me to rest. Doubt, fear, guilt, and shame all fade away in the face of that incredible assurance… that he loves me whether I return it or not. It is THAT that draws me to him. I no longer worry about pushing myself into relationship with him. I just understand that it is in place, and I am free to enjoy it.

  22. BruceD

    I think what is meant by choice or commitment, is that, if we dont choose to be aware of Gods Love then we wont experience it regardless if its there or not. The power comes from our commitment to allowing ourselves the experience, and I guess that would be “free will” as best as I can see. If its about relationship then it takes two to tango.

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