The rain fell hard against the windshield. I had just purchased new wiper blades and they proved their worth by pushing layers of water long enough for me to keep my eye on the road before the glass was assaulted by another round of strong rain. The voice from the radio helped me focus. A popular radio preacher spoke of commitment, the sort that is needed if you are ever to receive the blessings of God. Your total commitment, he said, is what it will take for God to give you what he promises. I’ve heard this preacher raise this high bar before, and I disagreed with him then as I did again now. The wind whipped hard outside, but my growing frustration with this teaching is what forced me to drive slowly. I gripped the steering wheel firmly as swashes of water repeatedly pushed off the window of my car. I gripped harder because of what I heard. I hear it a lot. Too often.
Think about it.
“The only way God will ever bless you is when you are totally committed to him.”
Well, that rules me out.
And once I reach that total commitment how long does it last? Does God remove his blessing the moment I lose my commitment?
I’ve heard others say that unless I love God with all my heart and soul and mind, he will stand back, withholding his blessings. Knowing ‘me’ as I do, I’ve never loved God with ALL my heart, soul and mind. It’s part of the demand of the law none of us can ever meet. This high bar of the law, according to Paul in Romans, shows us we can’t, so when we realize we can’t and we see the sin inside of us that makes us unable to, we are then forced to look elsewhere for help, and hope. To Jesus. Who can! And did!
So back to the radio preacher. He’s suggesting that God will only bless us when we are totally committed. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I assumed and hoped that he was simply laying out the law, to present the impossibility, in order to, by the end, offer us grace – that the demand of the impossible was met for us by Jesus. It never came. The program closed with an invitation to offer ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus – and subsequently, once that was done, claim the prize, the promised blessing … that comes only by total commitment.
David admitted that all he had to bring to God was a broken spirit and a contrite heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psa. 51:17)
Broken over what? Well, broken over the miserable attempts at trying to be committed enough. Had David achieved the high demand, there would have been no need for Jesus. If anyone ever managed to offer God what he required we would have no need for Jesus.
I’ve stopped promising God to no longer sin. Now I promise to just be honest with him. To admit I can’t do it. That I am a sinner. I love the sort of preaching that reminds me of what Jesus did for me and how he promises to bless those who come to him broken and helpless.
It’s Jesus’ total commitment that offers me the blessing of God. This means, sinners are the ones best qualified to receive His promises.