Are You Keeping the Right Commitments?
Evan Doyle | September 12, 2018
Our lives are more accessible to opportunities, options and opinions than ever before.
And all of it mostly lives in our back pocket. At least that’s where I keep my phone. Not to mention, all the other aspects of life.
Do you ever sit down at your desk or lay your head down to rest and a bombardment of details, worries and distractions begin to take over your thoughts… and heart rate?
We’ve all been there. Some are living there.
The word busy has multiple definitions.
:engaged in action
:full of activity
:foolishly or intrusively active
:full of distracting detail
I like the first two definitions. I want to be engaged in action and full of activity. However, too often the last two definitions creep into my reality.
Almost everyone I talk to would say they’re busy. But is it possible that they’re foolishly active? That we’ve fallen victim to a life full of distracting detail?
How can we ensure that we are spending our life on what counts? To be busy with what matters we need to live by a set of greater commitments.
Let me explain.
The following is a list of possible commitments you have. Feel free to make an accurate list.
Considering the list, which commitment is wrong?
Which one is sinful? Which one is morally unacceptable? Which one is not right?
Out of the list above, I can’t say any are inherently wrong.
Scan through the bible and you’ll find that believers had families, careers and church life too.
Below is a brief list of the different commitments people in the bible had, just like we do.
*Jesus had parents and siblings (Mark 3:31)
*Philip had daughters (Acts 21:9)
*Peter had a wife and a mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14)
*Overseers & Elders had families (1 Timothy 3:2-5)
Study/Schooling (Luke 2:52, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Timothy 2:15)
Friendships (Luke 10:38-42, Acts 12:12)
Sport/Hobbies (1 Timothy 4:8)
Jobs (Colossians 3:23-25, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10)
Church Life (Acts 2:42, Acts 6:2-3)
I think it’s easily overlooked but believers in the bible had to balance busyness too.
Outside of commitments that are obviously damaging to you, no one can necessarily tell you which ones to hold onto or let go of.
Not to mention that life can have seasons of additional commitments.
*Maybe God really does want you temporarily working extra hours.
*Maybe God really wants your family to be involved on that sports team.
*Maybe God really is ok with you picking up more credit hours for a semester.
*Maybe God really wants you to be at 17 different family Christmas parties during the holidays (I doubt it!).
Should we try to strike a balance between work and home? Ministry and life? Is it even possible?
It’s true that our life, calendars and thought-life are full. However, these areas will only be full of purpose if we are committed to the right things.
I think Jesus would challenge our schedules and compartmentalized life by asking us to elevate these greater commitments in every area:
Forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Accepting one another (Romans 15:7)
Caring for one another (Galatians 6:2)
Encouraging one another (Hebrews 3:13)
Submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
Bearing with one another (Colossians 3:13)
Carrying one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Loving one another (John 13:34)
Andy Stanley shared a message titled One Another One Another. He emphasized that we should be more committed to relational well-being and connectivity than maintaining calendars, demands and rituals.
When the pace of life is affecting our ability to be committed to one another, there’s a problem.
How can we quickly cut through the fog in our mind created by the busyness of our life to determine if it’s time to make a change?
As leaders, we should always be asking ourselves questions like these:
Is there room in my life to fulfill the greater “one another” commitments?
Does my busyness keep me from being committed to important relationships?
Are my commitments resulting in healthy and satisfying experiences?
Do I have the emotional and spiritual reserves to carry these greater commitments into every area of my life?
Depending on your answers, maybe some of your commitments need to change so that you have capacity to fulfill the greater commitments.
If your tank is low and your patience is short, something needs to give.
If you’re better at talking about caring for others from a platform than having concern for others, there’s something wrong.
If you’re more committed to your work and pastoral relationships than to your family, it’s time to fix it.
Below are three truths about commitment that will help you choose the right ones to keep.
1. Commitments Are A Result Of Choice, Not Conditions.
The commitments we keep truly do come down to our decisions. If you’re unhappy with the pace of life, the good news is you have the power to change it.
Unfortunately, too often we choose to allow pace, crowded schedules and busy thoughts to determine how we spend our time and energy.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Rather than allowing conditions to influence your choices, allow your choices to influence your conditions.
Instead of keeping things the way they are just because that’s how it’s been, what if you decide to change because you want your life to look and feel different?
If you decided that conditions will no longer determine the commitments you keep, what would you change?
How would your life be different?
2. Commitment Lasts When They’re Based On Values
What has become a priority in your life that is of little value?
Based on the greater commitments that the bible describes, can you identify lesser commitments that you’re maintaining that are preventing you from keeping what’s best?
Imagine you blow your entire schedule up and then rebuild it based upon what you value, how would it look different?
A commitment to something you believe in is a commitment that is easier to keep.
What changes could you make to ensure that the values outlined in scripture are influencing and driving your commitments?
3. Commitment Usually Is Discovered In The Midst Of Adversity
When difficulty hits we either feel one of two ways:
I want to quit.
I want to complete this.
How is adversity affecting you? Is it causing you to want to throw in the towel or push through?
With the right perspective, adversity can refocus your efforts and attention on the things that matter the most.
The bible talks about the process and results of adversity:
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What are trials of many kinds? Adversities.
What is perseverance? Commitment.
What are the results? Maturity.
What if the adversity of your life being scattered and hurried is an opportunity to become committed to maturity?
It’s certainly challenging, but I believe there’s a way to be busy with the right things.
To live an integrated life will require knowing which commitments are the most important and then choosing those above everything else.