What if Our Greatest Commitment Was to the Greatest Commandment?

February 04, 2014 | Elizabeth Maxon

When I was in high school I once used up all of my babysitting money to buy an entire volume of books that took you through the Bible – Genesis to Revelation. I was a dorky responsible kid and I thought I had some major responsibilities when it came to my faith in God.

I never made it past the third book. I would always get busy and then too much time would pass so I would decide to start all over again. I carried a tremendous burden when it came to being disciplined in my faith. I thought private disciplines were necessary to earn God’s favor, so I sped forward through life like a motorboat trying to get ahead by my own hard work and perseverance.

After years of doing the ‘right’ things I went off to college and decided it was high time that I got rid of the heavy load I had been carrying. For heaven’s sake, the Bible says that it is for freedom that we have been set free…I needed freedom from the guilt and burden of spiritual discipline. I suddenly turned into a raft that just floated along wherever the waters carried me.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I learned private disciplines were not really anything like a motorboat or a raft.

When I was in graduate school in Arizona I joined a women’s bible study led by Mary.

Mary practiced private disciplines in a way I had never seem them practiced before. It was as if she constantly held her hands cupped open waiting for God to pour something into them. I saw the overflow of what she received in the radiant way she loved God and loved others. For Mary, spending time in prayer or bible study or any other discipline was like a gift she couldn’t wait to unwrap.

It was not something she felt she needed to earn. It was something she gratefully received.

It was not like a burden she avoided. It was like an invitation she accepted.

When I met Mary I began to see the practice of private disciplines more like a sailboat.

God sends the winds of His Holy Spirit and we set the sail to receive it.

We position ourselves to be moved and used by God.

Our goal isn’t to earn. Our goal is to receive.

What if we were committed to receiving all that God wants to give us through the practice of private disciplines?

How would that change our hearts and minds?

How would that change the way we interact with our family and friends?

How would that change the impact we have on our community?

How would that move us away from temporary things of this world to the eternal, enduring things of God?

During Sunday’s service we presented some ‘What If’ suggestions to you for implementing private disciplines in your own life. If you missed them you can listen to the message here.

Please keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for other ways to engage private disciplines.

Let’s encourage one another as we make our greatest commitment to the greatest commandment!

“And he said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the law and prophets.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)

Elizabeth Maxon