LENT Day 8 – Commitment

You have the words of real life, eternal life.  – John 6

Have you ever tried a diet, workout program, or wellness activity?  How long did it last?  How hard was it to assimilate into your actual, real life?

Our family went through a juicing phase.  Every morning or the evening before I would spend a few minutes at our juice machine making the family a healthy beverage.  I would make a pitcher of fresh apple, orange, kiwi, lemon or lime, super greens, cucumber or carrot, and a chunk of ginger.  Just telling you about it makes me crave it.  They are that good.  However my kids didn’t necessarily agree with me.  They were pretty good about drinking theirs but for sure wouldn’t ask for one on their own.  Our family chiropractor was thrilled with our choice to implement this new healthy choice into our regular routine.  He would ask me about it weekly when we would visit.

According to Forbes.com there are three ways to make a new habit stick:

  1. Have a Plan
  2. Be Consistent
  3. Practice Patience

You won’t be surprised when I tell you that our family is no longer juicing regularly.  We had a plan for why we wanted to begin juicing.  We were consistent in the time we made our juices so that it would happen each day.  We didn’t however practice patience.  As soon as evenings or mornings got stressful the juicing was the easiest thing to let go of.  None of us had a real commitment to make it last.  Even our chiropractor tried to make me see that it is during stressful times when the juicing would’ve been so beneficial for us.  But instead I used it as an excuse to walk away from it.

Commitment isn’t easy.  It takes dedication and hard work.  It takes a persistent amount of attention.  We can’t just let it slide or we will find that we’ve walked away from it instead.

We have a short reading today titled Too Tough to Swallow.  It is the last story in John Chapter 6.  It is where we see that even some of Jesus disciples no longer wanted to put in the work.  They end up turning and walking away from Jesus.  May be it got too stressful for them, may be it got too hard, or may be they were just fearful of what would happen if they stayed.

At my church this Sunday we were studying Matthew 4:1-11 which is the story about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.  Our pastor said something along the lines that believing in Jesus does not promise us there won’t be difficult times or that we won’t be tempted.  On the contrary – we will suffer while we still believe.  But the Spirit will be there with us through it all.  Just as it was the Spirit that led Jesus.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. – Matthew 4:1 (NIV)

Jesus speaks to us the words the Spirit wants us to learn from.

Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. – John 6 (Too Tough to Swallow)

But we must be open to take in the teachings and risk our safe, predictable world to receive it.  This takes commitment.  Commitment to study God’s word.  Commitment to talk openly with our Father.  Commitment to serve others.   It won’t be easy.  Stress will enter and the devil will want you to turn from this part of your life.  The world will make you feel like it will be easier if you do.  Instead remember the Forbes.com list to help make it stick.

  1. Have a plan for the small ways you can add more God to your life.
  2. Be consistent with when and where you do this.
  3. Practice Patience.  It will be hard.  If you find yourself walking away just stop, turn around, and try again.

If we are confident in the eternal life that God has in store for us.  This commitment will be so worth it.  You can be confident in that commitment as the last 12 disciples did just that.

STUDY – John 6 (Too Tough to Swallow) – The Message Bible
Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”
Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely?  What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from?  The Spirit can make life , Sheer muscle and will power don’t make anything happen.  Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making.  But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him.  He knew also who would betray him.)  He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own.  You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”
After this a lot of his disciples left.  They no longer wanted to be associated with him.  Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance:  “Do you also want to leave?”
Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go?  You have the words of real life, eternal life.  We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve?  Still, one of you is a devil!”  He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.  This man – one from the Twelve! – was even then getting ready to betray him.


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