WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 26, 2021
TOPIC: BE TOTALLY COMMITTED TO GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 New King James Version).
God has always demanded a total commitment from His children. In the Old Testament, He demanded total commitment for the Israelites. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 New King James Version). But the children of Israel often failed in this regard and served other gods.
Joshua threw a challenge to the Israelites to choose whom they would serve and told them the choice he and his family had made to serve the LORD. “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15 New King James Version).
From time to time, God made efforts through His prophets to bring the people back to Himself. For example, at Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah told the Israelites, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21 New King James Version). However, they didn’t answer him a word.
In the New Testament, Jesus also restates the importance of being totally committed to God. He quotes what the Old Testament says about commitment to God. Jesus says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 New King James Version). Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 also record this. He describes it as the first commandment.
Commitment, in the context of this message, means loyalty, devotion, or dedication to God. God says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3 New King James Version). He says there is no God besides Him (Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 44:8; 45:5, 21). God wants His children to have undivided loyalty to Him. He wants them to be totally committed to Him. God wants you to earnestly obey His Word, love Him, and serve Him with all your hearts and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 11:13).
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (New King James Version). Luke 16:13 says the same thing. God doesn’t want you to love Him and still love another god or serve Him together with another god. He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; 6:15; Joshua 24:19; Nahum 1:2).
There will be persecutions but remain totally committed to God. “And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property — with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life’” (Mark 10:29-30 New Living Translation).
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (New Living Translation). Paul says he suffered persecution (Galatians 5:11). Endure persecutions as he did. He that endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13). Never compromise.
In the Old Testament, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach; and Abed-nego were totally committed to God. Though they were in exile, in Babylon, they remained committed to God, not compromising their faith. They refused to be defiled by the king’s food and wine. They pleaded to be fed with only vegetables and water. Their request was reluctantly granted by the officer in charge.
They were initially tested for ten days and were subsequently allowed to continue on vegetables and water. In the end, they were found ten times better than their colleagues (Daniel 1:1-21). God gave Daniel and his colleagues somebody who helped them to stand by their decision. When you decide to stand upon the truth of God’s Word, God would raise at least one person who would support you.
In Daniel 3, the Bible also records the total commitment of Shadrack, Meshach; and Abed-nego to God when they refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. When the king threatened to cast them into the furnace of fire, they told him “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 New King James Version).
Although they were cast into the furnace of fire, God preserved them. However, if the LORD had not prevented the fire from hurting them and they had died in the furnace, they wouldn’t have regretted it. That’s commitment. It is better to die while being totally committed to God than to live a miserable life full of regrets after compromising. Your duty is not to please people but to do the will of God.
Also, Daniel demonstrated his total commitment to God when he went ahead to pray to God contrary to King Darius’ decree that whoever made a petition to any god or man for thirty days, except him shall be cast into the den of lions. Daniel prayed to God as usual and he was thrown into the lion’s den. He didn’t entertain any fear. But God protected him and preserved his life (Daniel 6:1-28). Even if he had been killed by the lions, he wouldn’t have felt betrayed by God.
In the New Testament, Stephen exemplifies commitment to God. Acts 6:5 says Stephen was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:8 says he was full of faith and power and he did great wonders and signs among the people. He became the first Christian martyr after being accused of blasphemy. He was totally committed to God to the point of death. He didn’t renounce his faith in God. As he was being stoned to death, the Bible says he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60 New King James Version).
Furthermore, after the Sanhedrin had tried Peter and John and forbidden them from preaching in the name of Jesus, they answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 New King James Version). They were not intimidated. After they had threatened them and released them, they went to meet their colleagues and they all prayed for boldness to preach the word (verses 23-31). They were all totally committed to God.
Paul and Silas were also totally committed to God. Inside the prison, they were not lamenting or weeping, regretting being beaten and jailed for preaching the gospel. No. Instead, they were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Even when God intervened and the prison doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed supernaturally, they didn’t run away. Eventually, the jailor and his entire household were saved through them before they were eventually released (Acts 16:16-40).
In 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, Paul detailed his suffering for Christ including frequent imprisonment, danger to his life, receiving from the Jews five thirty-nine lashes, and suffering shipwreck. There is no trace of frustration or regret in Paul’s account. Certainly none. Paul wrote later in Romans 1:17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (New King James Version).
He also wrote in Galatians 2:19-21, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (New King James Version). He was totally committed to God; he had no regret following and serving Him.
Be totally committed to God, no matter what. Don’t serve God only because of what you want Him to do for you. Don’t have a transactional relationship with Him. Even though God will bless you, don’t serve Him because of the blessings or miracles. Worship and serve Him because you love Him. Reciprocate His love for you.1 John 4:19 says,
“We love Him because He first loved us” (New King James Version). If you love Him, obey His Word (John 14:15).
Jesus says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:24-25 New Living Translation). Be totally committed to God.
Jesus also says in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (New King James Version).
It is better to die being committed to God than to forsake Him and be alive. Life becomes miserable to a Christian who forsakes God. For thirty pieces of silver, Judas betrayed his Master but he couldn’t keep the money. In fact, he discovered he didn’t need it! He returned it to the religious leaders who gave it to him but they rejected it too because it was blood money. He threw it away and went to commit suicide (Matthew 27:3-6; Acts 1:18).
Demas loved the world and forsook Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). He most probably forsook the Lord, too. Remain totally committed to God. Jesus says, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me in any way that I have failed in my commitment to You. Holy Spirit, help me to be totally committed to God. Help me to love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. Holy Spirit, make me strong to endure every persecution; let me not faith not fail. Give strength to every child of God whose faith is becoming weak at the moment that they will not forsake God.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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