A Word on Love and Commitment from Fox Creek Christian Church

Mark Wells, lead minister from Fox Creek Christian Church, sent in an amazingly moving article on love and commitment and how loving others can improve our community:

Our culture has several uses of the word “heart.” For example, a person without compassion is described as “heartless,” and we urge them to “have a heart.”  The truly evil are “black-hearted” while godly saints have “hearts of gold.”

Courageous soldiers are “brave hearted.”  Jilted lovers are “brokenhearted.”  If we need to speak intimately with someone, we have a “heart-to-heart” talk.  But when we lose our passion for life, when a deadness sets in which we can’t seem to shake, we confess, “My heart’s just not in it.”  And with our deepest hurts, we call “heartaches.”   But when we love someone as deeply as we can, we’re said to love “with all our heart.”

Commitment is something that we’ve forgotten about today.  As a society in general there’s a problem with committing to anything.  Committing to work, committing to hobbies, committing to cell phone companies, committing to relationships, committing to God.  And when we fail to commit we really fail.

During Jesus’ ministry, He was constantly being tested by the religious leaders of the day in order to trip Him up so they could prove to the people that He wasn’t a prophet or even a true Rabbi.

In Mark 12:28, a teacher of the law somewhat impressed by one of Jesus’ answers asks Jesus, “What is the most important commandment?” And without skipping a beat Jesus answers him by referring to an obscure scripture in Deuteronomy and says, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God.  You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’  The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.” Mark 12:29-31

Jesus makes an incredibly important statement about the law, but more importantly about us, He says that WE NEED to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind and with all of our strength.  In this one statement, Jesus covers the most basic and most complex of all commands.

We talk a lot about how much God loves us.  God demonstrated His love for us, and we like to dwell on that love. We sing about His love for us; we write poetry and stories about His love for us.  It was God’s love for us that required Him to send His Son to save us from our sins.  One of the Bible verses that most of us learned as kids was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

That’s an amazing Bible verse and I encourage people all the time to memorize verses and this is a good one to start with.  But sometimes in our own selfishness, all we get out of that verse is “God loves Me” and nothing else.  People fail to think of how WE are supposed to feel towards God.  We get caught up in what He can do for us, and we totally ignore how we are supposed to feel towards Him.

Sure, we go through the motions by singing the songs, going to church, saying the prayers, but do we really take time to consider our real commitment to God? The kind of love and commitment that Jesus was talking about is the kind that should effect how we worship Him on Sunday AND how we live for Him Monday thru Saturday.

The Scriptures talk a lot about the level of commitment we’re to have towards God.
Psalm 42:1 tells us, “As the deer pants for water so my soul pants for You”
Psalm 84:2 declares “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Psalm 143:6 “I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”
And Isaiah 26:9a “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

When we talk about commitment, we need to understand a commitment that’s an all-consuming passion – a desire for God that goes so deep that it can literally hurt sometimes.  That’s what commitment is all about!  When a person is in love with God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, they become consumed with the idea of committing their time, talents, treasures and everything they have and everything they are to Him.

Martin Luther once said, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” 

Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is a love that leads us to give of ourselves because we love Him, not because of duty or obligation. This kind of love becomes so overwhelming that can’t help but dedicate ourselves to pleasing Him.

All of us know that’s what is expected of us.  We all know that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and for the most part, we know what that looks like.  So when we fail to live our lives in full commitment to God in this way, we know we are failing to keep the most important commandment.  We also know that that’s not according to the preacher or elders or deacons or Sunday School teachers in our churches that are trying to get more commitment out of us, but that’s directly from Jesus.  While most of us believe that we should keep Jesus’ commandments, there are still a lot of people out there that just won’t commit themselves to loving God with everything they have.

And when we fail to commit ourselves to God according to Jesus’ most important commandment, then we usually fail to commit ourselves to His second most important commandment to, “‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ Mark 12:31

The truth is, if we are going to make Lawrenceburg and Anderson County and Kentucky and the United States of America and the world a better place, we are going to have to commit to Jesus’ first two commandments.  We have to be willing to commit ourselves to loving God with everything we have so He can then make it possible for us to love everyone else.

I know it’s hard, I know there are people that are almost unlovable, believe me, my wife tells me I’m one of them sometimes.  But Jesus never said “love the ones that love you.” As a matter of fact, He said in Luke 6:32, “If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them.”

Loving people that love you is easy, instead He said, “love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.” Matthew 5:44  What?  Isn’t that going just a little too far? Loving your enemies?  Yeah, that’s what He said, “love your enemies.”  When we get to a point that we can do that with no problem, then we’ve truly arrived at the place we need to be to begin making a difference.

Loving your enemies calls for commitment.  It calls for a genuine, passionate, all-consuming commitment to what Jesus said are the two most important commands in all of the scriptures.

We live in a wonderful community, but as wonderful as it is, there are some nasty, hateful, rude, unlovable people that we come in contact with each and every day.  The way Jesus said to handle those kinds of people was through commitment.

We must develop a commitment to love God, who then gives us the ability to love others.  When we find ourselves on the right side of those two commandments then we are able to share our faith with our fellow man and see what kind of a difference it makes in lives.  When we open ourselves up to loving God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength and loving others as ourselves, then we are able to show our community what hope looks like.  When we decide to fully commit ourselves, then we become able to love even the unlovable.

Written by Mark Wells, Lead Minister at Fox Creek Christian Church.mark

Mark grew up at Fox Creek and has served on staff at Fox Creek Christian Church since January of 2010. Mark graduated from Kentucky State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and is working on his Masters Degree in Theology. Mark is married to his wife, Shanda and together they have 2 children Mickenzie and Hunter. You can email Mark at Mark@foxcreekchristian.com.

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