A few days ago I went to visit a friend who lives in another state. When I arrived, he met me out on his driveway to assist me in getting some things out of my car. I had some trash in the car, so as I was walking over to a nearby trash container, his wife intercepted me, took the trash, told me she would take care of it, and begin to separate it into different containers. My friend looked at me with a smile and quietly said, “I believe in recycling, but she is committed to it.” Boom! There is a huge difference between being a person who says “I believe ” and a person who is actually “committed.”
Just think about all of us who say that we believe in the Gospel but never share the good news or those of us who talk about grace, sing about grace, and pray about grace, but never show it. Get the point? There is a big difference between talking about what we say we believe and actually living out those values with commitment. Jesus was pretty clear about this when he said things like:
John 14:15 (NLT)15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
John 13:35 (NIV84)35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Gospel requires belief, but real belief is demonstrated in committed actions. It’s the whole idea that is presented in the book of James; real faith is to be validated by real works (the way we live).
There are a number of issues in life where I could say “I believe that” (name the issue here), but there are far fewer where I am actually living with commitment towards those issues. The truth of the Gospel brings comfort to the afflicted, but sometimes it also afflicts the comfortable. And, let’s face it, sometimes we are just far too comfortable with our words, when our actions are completely different. It is simply not enough to proclaim what I say I believe. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to live with commitment in ways that will bring attention and glory to Christ.
I think recycling is a great idea. I would even say I believe in it. But honestly I am not committed to it. Commitment seems to be the word that separates the men from the boys, the sayers from the doers.
I don’t think I will ever take the trash out again and not think about the difference between “belief” and “commitment.” So… how about you, what do you believe and what are you committed to?