Christian Articles Archive

The Freedom of Commitment

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

"I'm not ready for marriage. We'll just live together for a while and see how we like it." A pastor sure hears a lot of baloney when he challenges people to make commitments. Hear another. "I can't really commit myself to coming Sunday, but if nothing comes up, I'll try to make it."

It's one thing to politely escape from somebody pressuring us. But a persistent refusal to make commitments is a red flag, a cop-out, an excuse to be selfish, a sign that we need to grow up. We shout, "I want to be free," but it has a hollow sound.

Some years ago, the great pianist Vladimir Horowitz played to standing-room-only crowds in Russia for the first time since he had fled to the West. His music was so full of life, so flowing, so effortless! Yet this very freedom of expression on the piano came from a firm commitment he made seventy years before--the commitment to practice. Commitments give us freedom to do the things we really desire.

The freedom to drive a car requires a commitment to safety or eventually a plaster cast will keep us from the gas pedal. The freedom to enjoy an enurding family requires a firm "I do." The freedom to experience a thriving church requires the commitment to make it great.

"I don't know if I'll be able to ..." has the illusion of freedom, but it enslaves us to the spontaneous, the spur of the moment, the chance occurrence. Sure, lots of people live this way. But look at them. Too often, their lives don't count for anything important.

Making commitments keeps me progressing toward my goals. The lined pages of my appointment book are the key. The people and goals most important to me I put on the calendar first. If I find a prior commitment, then I'm forced to reassess my priorities so trivial pursuits don't usurp what's really important. Commitments keep me free to give my best to God.

What do you value most? Family, pleasure, work, God? Make explicit commitments to your highest goals so you'll be free to attain them.

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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