What does it mean to be a committed Christian? If I had a dollar for every time someone questioned the commitment of another Christian, I might have been able to retire after my first year of ministry. Ironically, I’ve never heard anyone question their own commitment to Christ–only that of others.
…they don’t come to Wednesday night because they aren’t committed. (like I do)
…they don’t give as they should because they aren’t committed. (like I do)
…they don’t discipline their kids (like I do) because they don’t want to obey the Bible (like I do).
You know what? You could be right. But, that isn’t really the point. These sorts of discussions aren’t really about commitment.
A committed Christian is one who is committed to Christ and His Cause. Commitment is a way of the heart expressing itself in a way of life. When we believe commitment is first a way of life, we’ve missed it–it throws our measurement (which we should use seldom if at all) off. It isn’t the outside of the cup or the tomb that Jesus is most concerned with. He’s concerned with the inside that shapes what happens on the outside.
Make no mistake–the outside often reflects what’s on the inside. For instance, Jesus says it’s out of the heart the mouth speaks. There is no doubt a tree can be judged by it’s fruit. However, another of Jesus’ teachings should guide our hearts on this issue as well: By the measure you judge you will be judged. This doesn’t mean we get to create the yard-stick and create a home-field advantage for ourselves as we compare ourselves with others (like Wednesday night, Ladies Bible Class, etc.). It means the same judgometer of spirit we apply will be applied to us. Thus, when setting ourselves up as fruit-contest judges wandering through God’s Vineyard, we must remember that we too are in God’s Vineyard, and He will examine our branches in the same way we examine others. Our “commitment” will not be judged by outside of the cup alone. It will be judged first by the inside, then by the true, not man-made marks Christ looks for on the outside.
Comparing ourselves or our church to others is a fools game. We’ll tend to be generous in Spirit toward ourselves and a bit more stingy in Spirit toward others. Comparing our wives/husbands to others, our kids to others, our churches to others, our preachers to others, and our alleged spirituality to that of others is a highly effective way to cultivate discouragement, pride and judgmentalism in our hearts. It’s a miserable way to walk with Jesus.
Don’t do it. Commit yourself to that.
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)