There are numerous references in the Bible addressing the Christian’s commitment in various aspects of life: to our families, neighbors, employers, the church, our health, and in all things we do and say (Ephesians 6:5; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 31). But the Bible also teaches that the chief commitment of our lives is to God Himself. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
Jesus is telling us that every fiber of our being, every facet of our lives must be committed to loving and serving God. This means that we must hold nothing back from Him because God holds nothing back from us (John 3:16). Furthermore, Jesus tells us that our commitment to Him must supersede our commitment to even our families: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Such commitment means our family relationships may be severed. It means our commitment to Christ demands, if given an “either/or” situation, we turn away from them and continue on with Jesus (Luke 12:51-53). The bottom line is that those who cannot make that kind of commitment cannot be His disciple.
Jesus is warning us in advance. The reason for such commitment and loyalty is that the trials we may have to endure will be quite demanding; our allegiance to Him at times may be arduous (John 15:18). Jesus alerted His disciples: “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). The apostle Paul echoed His warning: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Jesus has made it plain the cost of discipleship: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). In essence, the true cost of commitment to Christ is one’s total self-denial, cross-bearing, and the continual following of Him. These imperatives picture for us sacrifice, selflessness, and service. A cross epitomized ultimate punishment and humiliation (Galatians 3:13). More than that, it fully demonstrated the love of God (Romans 5:8)—selfless and sacrificial in the giving of His life for the world (Matthew 20:28).
Paul followed the Lord’s example of commitment in sacrifice and service. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Total commitment to God means that Jesus is our sole authority, our guiding light, and our unerring compass. Being committed to Christ means being fruitful; it means being a servant. Our axiom is simple and succinct: “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).