Convenience or Commitment

 

We are very fortunate in the United States because we have easy access to so many things. I love the many conveniences that we have. For example, donít you love the fact that you can go through the drive thru of a fast food restaurant and have a hot meal within 5 min or less? Of course some have taken this idea to new heights because I have been told that you can get married through a drive thru and I have also been told that there is drive thru church where you drive thru and partake of the Lordís Supper. I certainly wouldnít recommend these conveniences, but obviously there is enough people who have embraced this idea to support such drive thrus.

 

Convenience is the name of the game in our country, which is why we Convenient stores. Not only can we get our gas there, we can pick up other foods and items so that we can put off going to a supercenter for a day or two.

 

Think about our TVís, some bright individual invited the remote control so that we can remain in our seat and flip away through the channels. The days of having to get up and change the channel manually are over. I could spend all morning listing all things of convenience that we have such as transportation and telecommunications and there is nothing wrong with many of these conveniences that we have and enjoy.

 

One bad thing that has developed from living in a country of convenience is that many of us have taking this mentality and have applied to every aspect of our lives and you will see that many live their lives based on convenience, which is why it harder to find people who are committed to doing anything unless its convenient. Living a life of convenience has made many people lazy in every aspect of their lives including their spiritual lives.

 

Proverbs 26:15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.

 

What I hope you get from the lesson this morning is that it is ok enjoy and use convenient products or things that makes your life easier, but when it come to relationships and serving God we must be committed in these areas whether they are convenient or not.

 

The first area I want you to consider is marriage. It is my understand that during the Pioneer Days times were tuff and if you wanted to survive you needed a mate to help you, so some during that time married each other because of that reason. Sometimes that man and woman would end up falling in love with each other and their marriage was a good one, but there was probably just as many marriages that were horrible because they could not get along and physical abuse was involved. These are the chances that people take when they marry without knowing each other for convenience sake.

 

We have a Biblical example of this with Solomon. As Solomon dealt with different countries he found it convenient to take a kings daughter as a bride to make there relations work better and he ended up with 700 wives, but,

1 Kings 11:4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.

 

Marrying someone you donít know for convenience sake can end badly for you and it can cost you your soul.

 

There are some today who seem to think that marriage is nothing more than a convenient relationship as long as it is going well, but if problems start to happen and it no longer becomes convenient for them, they will divorce each other and seek out a new convenient marriage.

 

I can understand why some have this mentality because they see this type of behavior on TV all the time. They have been trained by Hollywood that marriage is not that important and if you cannot fix your problems within 30min to an hour like they do on TV, then you might as well find a new fish in the sea and that is what living a life of convenience is all about, but that is completely opposite of what the Bible teaches about marriage because Jesus said,

 

Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'5 "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?6 "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

 

Malachi 2:16 "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce,

 

If you want to follow the Bible and have marriage that God will be pleased with then both parties must be committed to the marriage even if it is not always convenient. We must realize that a healthy marriage requires work and it cannot survive if we are not willing to fight for it and take the bad days with the good days.

 

When both people in the marriage are committed to making the marriage work, then they are going to learn how to open up to each other and learn from each other so that their bond will become stronger. As the marriage vow says:

 

To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

 

These vows are meaningless if your marriage is based on convenience because if your mate get worse for a season the marriage is no longer convenient. If your mate losses his job and cannot maintain the lifestyle you are used to then it is no longer convenient or if your mate becomes sick or has an accident that changes his abilities, again it is no longer convenient and many of these inconveniences cause people to divorce, which is proven by a 50% or higher divorce rate in our country.

 

If we want to be pleasing to God in uur marriages, we must be committed to them and while it is difficult to deal with a mate that has gotten worse for a season, or one that has lost his job, or has become disabled because of a sickness or accident, we must press on and find news ways to connect and make the marriage stronger because that is what God wants us do, but I cannot stress it enough, both people in the marriage must work at it and be committed because a one sided commitment will only go so far before heartbreak will break a person down. Marriage has never been a 50 50 relationship it must be a 100 100 relationship.

 

When we can make up our mind to be committed to our marriage, it will be a marriage that we can proud of and that God will pleased with even though it may have some bumps along the way.

 

The second area I want to consider this morning is our relationship with God. There are many today that want God in their life and they like the idea of heaven, but they view God and what He wants through the eyes of convenience. They are willing to do what He asks them to as long as it is convenient and matches up with their lifestyle. Now they might be willing to make some minor sacrifices in their life such as trying to stop lying as much or trying to treat others better, but if a saying gets to hard then they will either ignore what Godís Word says or find some creative way to get around it that justifies their sin in their own minds.

 

One example of this comes from when Jesus had many disciples that were following Him out of convenience. They enjoyed hearing Him speak, but they also enjoyed being fed by Him and seeing the miracles done by Him. In John 6, Jesus spends a lot time talking to these disciples about how He is the bread of life. We are going to look at just a small part of His speech starting in:

 

John 6:49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.50 "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."52 ∂ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?"53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.58 "This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.60  Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?62 "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

 

This proves that many of these disciples that were following Him were doing so out of convenience. As long as following Jesus was easy for them, they didnít mind it at all, but as soon it became inconvenient for them they turned away from Jesus.

 

Many Christians are like this today. They have no problem following God and calling Jesus their Savior as long as its convenient for them, but as soon as a spiritual speed bump comes along, they want to turn away from God because they cannot understand why God would want them to change certain parts of their life.

 

When you get right down to it, it is not that they canít understand, it because they donít want to understand, they donít want accept the truth. They are unwilling to submit themselves to Godís wisdom and allow it to be their guide because they are to prideful and self centered. Jeremiah said it best;

 

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

 

The writer of Proverbs says:

 

Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

 

We must not think so highly of ourselves that we allow our opinions to override the Word of God. I donít care how smart you think you are or how reasonable your arguments may seem, we cannot match the wisdom of God, and we must learn to have that attitude that the Psalmist did in:

 

Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.134 Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts.135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.

 

In order for us to do this, we must be committed to serving God whether it is convenient or not. Back in our example in John 6 after many of the disciples turned from Jesus he said:

 

John 6:67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.69 "Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

These men are great examples of what commitment to the Lord is all about. When we are committed, we will not allow Godís teachings to turn us away because we will be willing to accept what the Word of God says and embrace it no matter how difficult it may be because we know our Bibles contain the Words of eternal life.

 

It is not always easy to accept what Godís Word says because sometimes what it says seems so hard and we cannot seem to understand why we must do certain things and avoid certain things, but if we want to be pleasing to God, we must be willing to take up the cross of Jesus and follow after Him.

 

If you are hoping that Christianity is going to be convenient then I promise you are going to be disappointed, and it wonít be long until you join the ranks of many other Christians who have turned from the Lord. Jesus makes it clear that living a Christ centered life takes commitment because Christianity can be hard at times, which is why Jesus said:

 

Matthew 7:13 " Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.††

 

Are you willing to serve God with your whole heart, mind, and soul no matter what His Word tells you do? Are you willing to travel down that difficult road that leads to life or it that to inconvenient for you?

 

If you want to pleasing to God and make to heaven, you must be committed to serving God. God told Joshua,

 

Joshua 1:5 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.6 "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

 

Convenience tells you to go to right or to left if it is convenient for you, but commitment to Lord tells you do not stray from His Word, do not get off that difficult path that leads to that narrow gate. Are you going to be one of the few or are you going to join the masses that travel down that broad road that leads to destruction?

 

My hope is that you will choose to be one of the few because if you do, it will make our God happy and cause Him to rejoice.

 

Every faithful Christian that is committed to serving God should be living the Christian life everyday because as Paul said:

 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

One way that we can make sure that we are committed to serving God is by following Paulís advice in:

 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified.

 

We must test ourselves by reflecting on how we are living our lives on a daily basis and if our actions or our examples that we are giving do not match up with Godís Word, then we need to make the necessary changes so that they do. We are never going to be perfect, but we must strive for perfection and continue to grow and become more faithful Christians then we were yesterday.

 

Another thing we can do is look at our attendance to worship God and study His Word, this can let us know if we are serving God out of convenience or by commitment. Those who serve by convenience will only come to the service that are convenient for them. For some this means once or twice a year for others this may mean only coming to one service a week.

 

Ask yourself the question, can I honestly say that I am committed to serving the Lord if I choose to worship Him when it is convenient for me?

 

I can tell you how I would answer that question, and the answer is no. If you are committed to serving God with your whole heart, mind, and soul, then you are going tobe the type of Christian who looks forward to every single opportunity to worship God and to study His Word and to be around those who are likeminded. If there is nothing hindering you from making it to Sunday Morning and Wednesday night Bible class then you are going to be there. If there is nothing hindering you from worshiping God on Sunday morning and night then you are going to be their because you love God and you want to take advantage of every chance you have to worship and learn more about God almighty.

 

Not only should desire to do this we are commanded to do so in,

 

 

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

I ask you, are you serving God out of convenience or are you committed to serving Him?

 

I hope that this lesson has made you examine your life as Christian and has helped you to see if you are committed to serving God. I hope that if you have been serving Him out of convenience that you will make the necessary changes in your life and that you will humble yourself before God and turn your entire being over to Him and start living your life according the Word of God.