I. If you were to go back to that “special place” to reaffirm your initial commitment to Christ, where would it be and why?
Those who live in mobile societies are often along distance from the place where they first began a personal walk with God. For some that place could be at a Christian camp where a challenge for Christian commitment was made around a campfire. For others, it could be the old home church where they grew up. We make these commitments sometimes in a hospital emergency room or a surgical waiting room. Just as we may want to go back to a home we grew up in and see what it looks like now, we also have special attachments to those “spiritual homes.” They can be special, sacred places because of the significance of the event that happened there. It’s worth the trip to go back!
2. The people of Israel had a hard time letting go of some of the false gods they had been introduced to. We can have the same problem. What are some of the gods we hold on to? Why is it so hard to put away these gods?
Idol-gods come in many shapes and sizes. These gods are anything that displaces the one true God and His desires. Sometimes an idol-god may come in the form of material possessions; at other times it may be a certain relationship we have with another per-son. It may be a job or a position we hold in the community or the church. These are things we can “put our hands on,” so to speak. Thus they are very real to us in our day-to-day lives. By contrast, the things that God considers important, such as a personal walk wills Him and acting by faith, can seem rather mystical at times. The fear of losing control is a very real reason why we hold on to our “gods.”
3.The Israelites made commitments to God in the context of remembering God’s blessings. What blessings has God given your church that should lead to even deeper commitments to Him? How can we make sure we count and recount these blessings?
Often we take for granted many of the things that happen in our churches. The freedom we
have even to be a church is often taken for granted. In some places this freedom does not exist. Whereas we often glory in our property and buildings (and these are blessings for which we should give thanks to God), we also need to remember the people who have been saved out of their bondage of sin.
We can remember the prayers that God has answered. We are quick to mention our prayer requests in our programs and services. Are we as quick to keep a record of the answers, to pro-claim and celebrate these?
4.Sometimes our actions belie our words. In what ways can the things that we do devalue our promise of allegiance to God? How can we do better?
We used to sing a hymn that said, put Jesus first in my life.” This is a promise that our relationship with God is more important than anything else. Then we allow recreational activities to take precedence over, say, a Bible study. When we are challenged to give to help support a missionary endeavor or to respond financially to a crisis situation, we focus instead on that new car or new gadget that advertisers have convinced us we just can’t live without. Solutions will be individual to each person, but undoubtedly all solutions must begin wills prayer.
5.In quick succession the people of God offered their allegiance to God four times. How can we follow their example in reaffirming our dedication to God?
We can first verbalize our commitment. In personal testimonies or small group settings, we can speak of ways we want to be more commit-ted in our walk with God and ask for others to pray for us and hold us accountable.
We then back up our talk with actually serving others and obeying God. Keeping our eyes open to steeds in our church and in our community where the love of Christ needs to be made known is important. Service in the name of Christ in a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen or an organization to help children are ways we can respond in obedience.