Commitment

From the beginning, the Christian message included an invitation. People were challenged to respond and commit themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus that people enter the Kingdom of God and receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.

It is clear from the New Testament that five elements are involved in becoming a committed Christian:

  • Repentance
  • Faith
  • Receiving the Holy Spirit
  • Baptism
  • and Community

 

Repentance                      

U turn

Some people associate the word ‘repentance’ with doom and gloom, and feeling bad about yourself. But that’s not it at all!

Repentance really means being willing to change.  It’s a change of thinking leading to a change of direction – a kind of spiritual and moral u-turn.

 

 

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Repentance is, in effect, saying to God, “I am willing to let you change me.”  

 

Faith

Faith in Jesus is not just believing certain things about him. It means putting your trust in him.

A committed Christian seeks to live a life centred on Jesus, shaped by his teaching and example. Jesus calls his followers to a life of service, and to the pursuit of justice, peace and love.
 

Bishop Richard of Chichester (1197-1253AD) wrote this beautiful prayer to Jesus:

O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
And Follow Thee more nearly.

Day by day.

 

Receiving the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Dove

Following Jesus does not just mean living by his teaching.  It means a life empowered by his living presence, through the Holy Spirit (see Spirit).

The Apostle Paul writes: 

 

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit… (Romans 5:5)

We open our hearts to God’s love and to the power of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace.  These include prayer, worshipping with God’s people, the Lord’s Supper, and the laying on of hands.

Spiritual practices such as these are at the heart of the Christian life.

                                                                           

Baptism

Baptism is the means of grace which marks a person becoming a Christian. In the New Testament, whenever the Christian message was proclaimed, people were challenged to respond by being baptised.
 
Baptism
 

“All of you must turn away from your sins and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 2:38)

Baptism signifies belonging to Jesus, and being united with him in his death and resurrection. But it must be followed through with on-going commitment. Being a follower of Jesus is a lifelong journey.
 

Community

That journey is made as part of a band of brothers and sisters in the Church. Finding a Christian community in which to live out your faith with the support and companionship of others is crucially important. A Christian is a follower of Jesus in community.
 
Together
 
The Apostle Paul writes:
 
For we were all baptised by the one Spirit into one body… You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.                                 (1 Corinthians 12:13 & 27)
 

Why Should I Commit My Life to Jesus Christ?

The Christian message is a warm invitation.  It is God’s invitation for us to open our lives to his love and enter the life of his Kingdom through Jesus.
 
We need God in our lives.  We need the love, the joy and the peace of God. We need God’s forgiveness and mercy.  We need God’s wisdom and guidance as we try to live complicated and challenging lives.  We need the inner strength God offers us as we face those challenges.
 
We respond to God’s invitation by choosing to put Jesus at the centre of our lives.
 

A Prayer of Commitment

An ancient proverb says, “Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

Here is a prayer that can be used to take an initial step of faith towards being a committed Christian. 

Father God

Thank you that you made me and you love me.  Please forgive me for turning against your love and shutting you out of my life. Thank you that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead to save me. I accept Jesus as my Lord, and choose to live with him at the centre of my life. Please come into my life through the Holy Spirit and help me to grow in your love within the community of your Church.  Amen.