Developing Commitment: Part I

by APC on January 07, 2016

At the beginning of the year, we determine to increase our commitments in life. Of these commitments, we should make an effort to increase our spiritual development. We have the right mindset to “commit,” but we’re committing ourselves to the wrong things.

Our Primary Focus

Most of us deal with what we like to call “problems,” and they make up this thing we live in called “life.” Our problems in life really aren’t the issue: we’re so focused our problems we aren’t focusing on the small things. Jesus noted the “small” stuff in our life really should be our focus:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33, KJV).

Spiritual Commitment

Jesus has taught us there is a tie between love and commitment. The love of God is demonstrated, and we know we love Him, when we keep His commandments (I John 2:3; 5:3). Love and relationships are not solidified without commitment.

Our commitment to Christ is developed through the growth of good spiritual disciplines. Development takes time, which is why Paul equated our spiritual walk to a race (I Corinthians 9:26–27; Hebrews 12:1). There are many spiritual disciplines the believer should have in his/her life. They are the basic practices we need to develop to grow toward spiritual maturity (Romans 6:13).

The Road to Spiritual Maturity

On the whole, spiritual maturity is becoming like Christ. There are two approaches to spiritual maturity: defensive and offensive. The defensive approach is when we live our life and try not to do anything wrong. The defensive approach isn’t the best route because not doing wrong doesn’t always mean that you’re doing right!

The offensive approach is bearing the fruit of the Holy Ghost in our life on a day-to-day basis. When we allow Christ to bear fruit in us, showing results of spiritual maturity, spiritual maturity will bring other results in our lives (Colossians 1:27). As we purposely join our life to Christ, the character of Christ (His fruit) will grow in us (I Corinthians 11:1).

Spiritual Fruit

The fruit of the Spirit is the continued evidence of the Holy Ghost abiding in our life. The fruit is produced when we walk in the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh (Galatians 5:16–17). Our flesh and the Holy Ghost (God’s Spirit) are constantly at war with each other. Our flesh doesn’t want to yield to the working of God. Remember, these two are not equal in strength; the Holy Ghost will always be stronger than our flesh.

We must make the daily choice to live for God. We cannot live for God by our own effort. If we try, we’ll fail. If we don’t have the Spirit of God working in us, we don’t belong to Him (Romans 8:9). If we allow ourselves to be controlled by the Spirit of God living inside of us, we will overcome works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19–21).

God gave us the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance) so we won’t live in conflict with the law (Galatians 5:22–23). These are not an all-inclusive list denoting what the Holy Ghost will do in our life. They are by-products and natural reactions to Christ’s control in our life! We can always fulfil the law of God much better with Christ than practicing it as a ritual.

Crucifying Our Flesh

In order to allow the Holy Ghost to reign in our life, we must crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:24–26). This is a process we must learn and develop overtime in our spiritual commitment. The more we practice, the easier it will become! We must abide in Christ to allow His Word to live in us by means of bearing Spiritual fruit. Bearing fruit will tell Him, and the world, that we are His disciples (John 15:4–8).

Facts About Spiritual Maturity

It’s Not Automatic

We must transition in our knowledge of God by feeding on milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12). If we try to eat spiritual meat as babes in Christ, we’ll choke! Just as a child must learn to eat and digest more complex foods, we must learn to do the same with the Word of God in our life. There is a progression to our spiritual maturity. When we step into our walk with God, we’ve started on a journey.

It’s a Process

Scripture tells us that our spiritual growth will be a process. We need to grow in grace and our knowledge of Him (II Peter 3:18).

It Takes Being Spirit Led

We can study Scripture as much as we can and fill our minds with what we “think” we know about the Lord. But, book learning—even with the Bible as our main resource—will not be the end-all-be-all to lead us into spiritual maturity. We must be led by the Spirit. The Spirit will further reveal truths to us in our “book” learning that are far deeper than anything we could learn on our own.

It Takes Discipline

Spiritual maturity is like spiritual “physical fitness.” We must constantly train and keep ourselves in the Word and in prayer to grow (I Timothy 4:7). We must enter into a training period of “discipleship.” In discipleship, we: follow after Christ and become mature believers; become disciplined; and allow God to use us more (the more disciplined we become).

It’s Done Daily

Anyone who seeks after the Lord must take up their cross and follow Him every day (Matthew 16:24). We need to make a concerted effort to give Christ first place in our life.

The Holy Ghost Helps Us

God will always reveal His truths to us by His Spirit. There are so many things we cannot know unless the Spirit of God reveals it to us (I Corinthians 2:9–12). In order for His Spirit to reveal truths to us, it must be active, alive, and present in our daily life.

How to Be a Disciple

Disciples will always engage in practices that lead him/her to becoming more Christ-like. God is looking now (today) for someone to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

Over the next few weeks, we will delve deeper into the 7 components of discipleship. These are all elements that we must embrace to develop a lifestyle/commitment to discipline that seeks to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.

7 Practices of Discipleship

Bible Study

Scripture notes that God will know that we are His disciples if we study His Word (John 8:31). We need to continue to study God’s Word on a daily basis.

Personal Devotion

After we’ve read the Word of God, we need to apply it to our lives. This will involve a time of self-reflection and study to see how we can make the law of God a habit in our life (James 1:25).

Prayer

In addition to reading the Word and following it day-to-day, we need to develop an intimate relationship with God through prayer. When we abide in Him, when we ask anything, it will be done for us through the power of prayer (John 15:7).

Fasting

Fasting is a part of discipleship this is paramount. Jesus told His disciples that some things could not be accomplished without prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). There are specific ways that we should fast—never in the open, but in secret. The Lord will reward those who fast diligently for His kingdom (Matthew 6:16–18).

Praise and Worship

We are called to worship Him—praise for Him should continually be in our mouths (Psalm 34:1). We are a chosen people and are different than the world. We are called to praise Him for what He has done for us (I Peter 2:9).

Giving

We cannot be tied to the physical make-up of this world (Luke 14:33). God has entrusted us to be stewards of what He has given to us, and we need to give cheerfully (II Corinthians 9:6–7).

Fellowship

We are commanded to love one another because Christ loved us (John 3:34–35). Our role as disciples are to encourage each other and to continue on the path of discipleship and spiritual maturity!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Developing commitment in our walk with God is going to take practice. We have to learn concepts, apply them to our life, and keep at it! We can develop good spiritual habits which will lead us into spiritual maturity if we engage in a repeated performance of the action. Once we develop a spiritual habit, we’ll be one step closer to spiritual maturity!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on January 06, 2016