I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. (Job 31:1) Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.(Daniel 1:8)
Here we see two wonderful examples of making commitments to keep plugged into the power sent to us from on high. Job made a commitment regarding lustful looks (a huge problem in today’s sex-saturated culture), making a covenant with his eyes. Daniel was in training to enter the service of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, having been taken into captivity in Babylon along with many others of the Jewish nation. Part of this training was to eat what was served at the king’s table, but Daniel made a commitment not to eat the king’s food, which would have violated God’s dietary laws. So . . . how are you doing in the area of commitments? Job made a commitment (plugging into the power of God) against his sinful heart. Daniel made a commitment (plugging into the power of God) against his sinful surroundings. We all must make commitments on both fronts: guarding against violating God’s commands due to the sinful condition of our hearts and the sinful condition of our surrounding culture. One of the best ways to approach this means of grace is to identify some areas of weakness in your life and decide in advance how you will deal with these situations when they come up: If you know you have a weakness in the area of lust, why not make the same commitment Job made? Maybe your weakness lies elsewhere; perhaps you need to make a covenant with your tongue and the language you use . . . perhaps you struggle to control your temper . . . or could it be your credit cards and how you spend your money? When it comes to commitments, we must remember that, by God’s grace, we travel this road in two directions. In one direction we abstain—we avoid sinful practices. In the other direction we advance—we live in a way that is good, right, noble and pleasing to God. The apostle Paul provided the biblical motivation for Christian commitments:
I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.(Romans 12:1)
In view of God’s mercy . . . that’s the key that unlocks the door leading to a life of freedom, joy, and power. God’s mercy—not our merit—is both the inspiration to commit and to carry on in our calling, knowing that when we fall short we are both fully forgiven and completely loved. This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!