Priceless Woman Ministries
Julia M. Faulkner
I remember when my husband and I first married and I began attending the Baptist church he had grown up in. One of my first impressions was that these people sure had a funny way of talking about things! I mean, every time I turned around I was hearing about the Lord! "The Lord has been so good to me!" "Just give it to the Lord." "I just want to the thank the Lord for saving me." And so on.
I really thought these folks were strange. In fact, it made me very nervous. You see, I had not grown up hearing people talk about Jesus and His Father in such a way. It was very foreign to me. There was definitely something different in their walk with the Lord! I knew that these people's Christian lives were different than any I had ever witnessed in my life. It was all very strange and confusing to me. I could never quite put my finger on what it was the bothered me so much. As much as I wanted to, as much as I loved God and tried to follow Him, I could not speak of the Lord as these people did.
But praise God! I can today! Why? Because 6 years ago the Lord saved my soul from eternal damnation! I have a reason to be able to openly praise His name and thank Him for His blessings. I can freely speak His name because now I truly know Him. You see, it's very hard to talk of someone and praise someone you do not know. And now I do know Jesus personally!
It did take some time for me to be able to get to this place. I was saved probably about 2½ years before I started making an effort to draw closer to the Lord. I knew there were things as a Christian that I should (and shouldn't) have been doing. When I finally took those first feeble steps in my Christian walk, a whole new world was opened up to me.
What happened? I guess you could say I became a committed Christian. I had that desire to grow closer to the Lord and I did something about it! I wanted to be the best Christian I could be. But I had to start somewhere and that is what I want to share with you today. I want to lead you in some steps to becoming a committed Child of God. There are some basics that you must start with. For without the first step, you cannot move forward in your walk with God. It has been said that "the first step is the hardest", and indeed it is.
Now, as you all know, we are not born mature Christians. I Peter 2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" Being born into the family of God is like our natural birth. We are born helpless and new, requiring the easiest food to digest. God's food is His preserved word. As we grow spiritually, just as when we grow physically, we can begin to eat heartier food! So as I spent more and more time in the Bible, I was able to draw closer to God. And as I grew closer to God, He burdened my heart to turn from some sin I had in my life that was hindering Him from using me. Once I repented, with His help of course, God really began to use me!
So you see that spending time in the Bible is the first step to living a life committed to God. As we move on to the next step, you will see why this is essential to other areas of a Christian's life.
A committed Christian desires God's way! Psalms 25:4 "Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths." If you truly want to be in God's will, He will show you the way! Proverbs 3:6 "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Can you honestly say you are committed to God's ways and to God's will?
One side note I might add here is this: God tells us in Revelations 3:15 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot." 16 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Will you commit today to being either hot or cold? God does not want fence-straddlers nor does He want wishy-washiness! He would rather you give either your all or nothing! There is no half-way with God. You either are or you are not. Which will you commit to today?
Friend, why not today give up following your will and instead be committed to fulfilling God's will for your life. I John 2:5 "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." 6 "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." We know from this verse that we ought walk as Christ walked. And one of the things about Christ Jesus was that He so earnestly desired to do the will of His Father! Luke 22:42 "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Can you say that you are committed to God's will?
Let's look for a moment at these first two steps together and see how the first is essential to the second.
If you want to be committed to doing God's will, how is it that you can know God's ways and be committed to them? God tells us that He gave us His word so that we may be properly equipped to serve Him! II Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 17 "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Look at that word through(ly) for a moment. I looked it up in my Webster's Dictionary and it means "carried through to completion; exhaustive; marked by full detail; careful about detail; complete in all respects." Do you realize what that means? Oh we should all shout for joy at that! Whatever it is that a Christian needs to know for his life can be found in God's word! There is nothing that happens in the lives of God's children that we cannot find an answer for in His precious Book! Praise God! Amen! Woo! Don't you just want to shout about that? Hallelujah!
Whatever your problem, or need, or trial, or circumstance, God has an answer for you! It takes effort on your part to search it out, but it's there!
My friend, if you are not spending time in God's book, then you will not be able to serve Him the way you could! How can you know God's will when you know nothing of God? The Bible is one of the ways that we learn about our Heavenly Father. As II Timothy 3:16 says, God's word is profitable for us! Take advantage of it! Blow the dust off of that Bible! Devote, commit, be determined to spend time in it daily!
Just a few weeks ago I was speaking with a young woman who has been saved about 12 years or so. She wanted to know if she could ask me a question, and I said sure she could. She said that someone had told her that God was not a man, and she wanted to know if that was true. I said of course it's true. God tells us who He is in His word! She was taken totally off guard because she thought she was right and the other person was wrong. If she had just taken some time to search the scriptures, she could have known who God is! Isn't it sad that God's own children do not even know who He is?
And sadly this is the way it is with many of His children. One can be saved without being a committed, determined Christian. Some people have the notion that getting saved is all there is to it. They think that after salvation, well, that's it! They're in! That's all that counts! But what a blessing they are missing by not being committed to the God who loves them so!
But God also tells us that true faith produces works in the life of the one professing faith. James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Beware! If you have no desire to serve God, then maybe you have some business to take care of with Him!
If we are going to talk about becoming a committed Christian, there is one Very important thing we cannot leave out! Prayer. Oh how my life severely lacks in this area. I know I will stand ashamed before my Lord one day if I don't make some major changes in that area. It is odd how I seemed to pray more before I got saved than I do now.
Of course, it may be that my prayer habits have changed. I now "pray without ceasing," something that I never did before. And it's really a blessing. If someone asks me to pray for them, I do it right then. Or if they come to mind during my day, I pray for them then. You see, God does not have a specific time we must pray to Him each day. There is no rule saying we have to pray at bedtime. Although uninterrupted prayer time with the Lord is essential to staying close to Him.
God is always there waiting to here from us. I Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
God is our Heavenly Father who owns the "cattle on a thousand hills." And just like our earthly father, He is there to meet our needs, listen to our problems, or accept our praise. Now, God knows what we are going to request of Him before we ever even bow our head! But He still desires to hear you ask Him. Why? Well, I think it pleases Him to know that you are putting your trust in Him to provide your needs.
I believe that this is one of the reasons prayer assists us in becoming more committed to God. When we begin to realize that we cannot do it all on our own, and we put our trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, compassionate, merciful God who always knows what's best for us, we cannot help but be dedicated to His ways. If you ask, you better trust Him to bring it to pass. Or trust that he will show you the way in which you should go!
If you make sure to praise Him in through prayer, then it will become easier to see Him at work daily in your life. Prayer is talking to God! And is there any better way, except through the Word, to stay close to the one who first loved us? Imagine what prayer and the word coupled together could accomplish? Praise God! You surely would not have a hard time seeing God then!
Just the other day, my little four-year-old daughter asked me if Jesus has a telephone! It was such a sweet and innocent inquiry. Of course I told her no He does not, but explained that God has a way for us to talk to Him. That being prayer.
Isn't it a shame that we spend only a fraction of our time in prayer compared to what we spend on the phone? We have so much time to talk to everybody else but we leave the most important person out. And He is the one who can do the most for us! We spend so much time complaining to other folks when we could be laying down those burdens at Jesus' feet. Luke 6:12 "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Have you ever prayed all night? I can only think of one time that I came even remotely close. It was during a terrible storm and my children were asleep on the other side of the house. I slept fitfully that night, but each time I awoke I was praying for the safety of my children. What a comfort to be able to put my children's safety into the hands of the only one who can bring all things to pass.
Acts 6:4 "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." My hope for you is that you will begin to give yourself continually to prayer! It will keep you close to God, and keep you in His will more than ever before.
Acts 12:5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." How I wish we all would pray like this for those experiencing trials in their lives! What we could accomplish for our brothers and sisters in Christ if only we would pray without ceasing for them! Oh think of the wonderful things that would happen in our lives.
Don't neglect our means of communicating with the One who loves us more than anyone ever has, or ever will. Praise Him, thank Him, honor Him, and lift Him up through your continuous prayer! Get committed to a life of continuous prayer.
The next step addresses hindrances to being a committed Christian. What exactly keeps Christian's from being committed to the Lord? Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" So many people refuse to obey this verse! They let the lusts of this world blind them to the joy of being 100% committed to their Savior!
I Corinthians 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." How would you like to have been the folks that Paul was addressing in this passage? I think it would be quite embarrassing! But sadly we have Christians today who could very well wear the same shoes as these early Christians. Friend, if you have a carnal mind, if your mind and heart is more on worldly and temporal things of this life, then you are still a babe in Christ! You will never grow if you continue like this! You cannot grasp spiritual things when your heart and mind is carnal and filled with worldliness. Will you right now commit your heart and mind to the things of Christ? Whatever the distractions that keep you from being committed, give them over to the Lord! Ask for His strength to rid your life of them. Ask Him to take away your desire for them, and commit to making Him the center of your life!
If cars, money, clothes, vacations or whatever remain the center of your life, and not Jesus, then you will not be able to grow in the Lord! You will never be able to be a committed Christian. Instead, why not commit today to laying up heavenly treasures and lay aside the treasures on earth? Commit your heart to heavenly treasures that will last for all eternity! Matthew 6:19 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:" 20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" 21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Dear sister (or brother) in the Lord, after you have committed your heart to storing up heavenly treasure, and have committed to making Jesus the center of your life instead of worldly treasures, why not commit yourself to walking in the Spirit by which you are lead! Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," 23 "Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." 24 "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." 25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." The Fruit of the Spirit is actually the attributes of our Father in Heaven right?
Let me explain. All born again believers have the Spirit of God dwelling within them. Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." He is called the Holy Spirit. And the outward sign of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the Fruit of the Spirit! This is how people see God living in us. So why not be committed to allowing that fruit to shine brightly in your life. Trust me! Others will notice the change in you! And that could be another commitment! Letting others see the Light of Jesus in you (Matthew 5).
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." It is so obvious that God is very concerned with what we fill our minds with! Music, reading material, TV, even friends and relatives! Do these things (and people) fill our minds with good, godly thoughts? Do they make you think of the things of God? How can you be committed to the Lord when you've got this afternoons love scene from your favorite soap opera running through your head? Or what about that trashy song from the radio? You know the one. The singer speaks of drunkenness and lewd behavior, cursing and taking the Lord's name in vain! Or that trash novel with the dirty words and explicit love scenes described at length and with much detail! Are these things pure? No way! What about your next door neighbor who tells the dirty jokes? Can you tell me that you can listen to his jokes and not think on them later on? What kinds of thoughts do these jokes put in your mind?
Today will you commit to putting away the smut and commit to filling your mind with God's holy word? For your listening pleasure, fill your mind with godly hymns and praise music! Commit yourself to talking to people who lift up the name of the Lord! Praise God! Hallelujah!
God also tells us we should do all to the glory of God! I Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." What more can I say? Can you say the things you do bring glory to God? Do you even try to bring glory to God in all you do and say? If not, starting today commit to making an effort to bring glory to God in all things!
One of the things I so love about the book of Psalms is that it speaks so much of rejoicing in the Lord and praising Him before the congregation! Do you do that? Do you stand up in Church and testify for the Lord? Do you lift up His name? Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Do you rejoice in the Lord? One of the reasons we gather together on Sunday's is to worship and praise the Lord! Psalms 111:1 "Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation." I want to challenge you today to commit yourself to worshiping and praising the Lord! Both in Church and in your everyday life! You will be richly blessed. He has done so much for you! Did you know that by praising Him publicly you are also bringing honor to Him?
You will never know what a blessing it is to praise the name of the Lord if you never try! God says in John 4:24 that He is a Spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and truth! Friend, outward worship without worship from your spirit is worthless to the Lord! Put your heart into it! Get excited about all that God has done for you! I am so glad that I can now rejoice in the Lord always! I'm saved Praise God and if nothing else, I can always praise Him for that.
Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Praise God for persecution! Do you know that when you are committed to doing the will of God that you will suffer persecution? Hey, you even suffer persecution in well doing! I Peter 3:17 "For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing." Praise God! If you're being persecuted, you must be doing something right! What are things that a Christian is persecuted for? Witnessing; living a separated, godly life; praising the name of Jesus! That's just the tip of the iceberg. Why not today commit yourself to the fact that persecution will happen for the cause of Christ.
Whatever we do for the Lord, we're gonna face persecution. I Peter 4:12 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:" God says it should not be surprising to you that you suffer for the cause of Christ! Persecution in the name of Christ should not be thought of as something out of the ordinary.
In fact, we know that Jesus was persecuted and that Jesus suffered for us! I Peter 2:21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:" Friend, commit yourself to suffering for the One who suffered to bring you life eternal! That is the very least we should be willing to do for Him!
Look at these two verses with me for a minute. II Corinthians 4:16 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." I think if you're a committed Christian, if you're committed to Jesus, and if you're committed to being in God's word daily, this attitude of commitment will help to faint not! If you're not determined in your walk for Jesus, at the first sign of trouble you'll be wanting to get out! I can stand up and say today that I was not committed like I should have been and I quit on God for a while because I was facing persecution from some fellow Christians. And I know I missed a blessing because I didn't continue in God's will. Don't let this happen to you. I know now that I should have been praising God for what was happening instead of quitting on God. I Peter 2:20 "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." I was not committed like I should have been!
Isaiah 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." How many of us Christians could honestly say that we would follow when we hear God's voice calling us to go? When that missionary is asking who will go here or there to win souls for the Lord, do you try to slide down in the pew and hide? You can't hide from God! When the preacher is looking for a Sunday School teacher, do you look the other direction? God needs soul-winners and committed workers! He calls us all for that duty! Where are you?
We allow so much to keep us from going out and working for God. "Here I am! Send Me!" Five little words and yet they freeze on our tongues because we are gripped by fear, worldliness, and an uncommitted heart! How much do you Really love God? Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first and great commandment." Commit your life to loving God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength so that when He calls you, you can say "Here I am! Send me!" Sweeter words could never be spoken to the Father who loves you so much!
And after you have committed yourself to following God's calling, why not commit yourself to tireless service to Him? Oh, I know how hectic things get and how much time work and your family requires. And I realize that sometimes we get discouraged and just want to give up! But don't! Again, God tells us: Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." And in II Thessalonians 3:13 "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing." Commit yourself to doing God's work even in the face of persecution, fatigue, hardships, and a hectic life! If we can't find time for God, we are simply too busy and our priorities are out of order!
The most important commitment we can make to the Lord is actually found in a commandment. Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Will you this minute commit yourself to following Jesus' command to preach the gospel to every creature! Oh how wretchedly I fail God every day in this! How many people will die and go to hell because I did not take the time to share Jesus? Why is it that this is so hard for us to fulfill? Are we ashamed of the gospel? Do we fear being rejected and hated? Do we fear being scorned and laughed at? Didn't Jesus himself suffer such as this and much, much worse? These things I write to you are the same excuses I use everyday and I know I will stand before the Lord and give an account. Oh the shame! Commit yourself this minute to winning souls for the Lord! For no other commitment could be greater than that of rescuing a soul from hell!
Today my friend will you not commit to growing closer to Jesus? Commit to learning more about God? And commit to serving Him every minute of every day? How about committing yourself to praying for others as is so often commanded of us? There is joy in knowing, loving, serving, and talking to the Father who so willingly gave us His son, and the Son who so willingly gave up all that He had, so that we might be set free! Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." 2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." It is reasonable to God that you present yourself as a living sacrifice to serve His will! Reasonable means that God isn't asking too much of you considering what He has done for you! Commit to sacrificing your life in service to God!
In closing I would like to encourage you not to get discouraged if you slip and occasion. We all do it. It's just the nature of our flesh. But the difference between a Christian and lost man is that we have God holding us up! Psalms 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." 24 "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." So don't worry if you mess up now and again. God is right there. Holding you with His hand! A committed Christian is one who is consistent in the way he lives his life. That does not mean we don't make mistakes every now and then.
I Corinthians 10:12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Also, don't get high-minded now that you are walking closer to the Lord! That is so easy to do. You start judging other Christians. It's just a big mess! Watch out. Remember, pride cometh before a fall.
If you are truly serious about the journey to becoming a committed Christian, and you begin to take the steps mentioned here, you will soon see evidence of your commitment. For instance, every time you look at or speak with people the first thought you should have is where they will spend eternity. Another way to know if you are living the committed life is to look at your life in general. Every moment of your life should be spent trying to please God. A life lived for God will be godly and separated. One thing I have noticed in my growth as a child of God is that growth in one area leads to growth in another. So, here are some areas that you may soon be working on. They all have scriptural references, but I'm going to make you do a little work! Take each commitment and search out the reference for it in your Bible! Listen now! Don't just read the verse that corresponds! Study the entire passage/chapter! Who knows! You might learn more about God! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but as you begin to be aware of being a committed Christian, you will find God has lots for you to commit to.
Three verses for memorization:
Psalms 37:5 "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Proverbs 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established."
I Peter 4:19 "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
© 1997 by Julia M. Faulkner, Sonshine Publications