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Growing in Christ 1: Committing to It 

Growing in Christ Day 1: Committing to It 

But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. (Galatians 1:15-18, ESV)

In the corporate world, mergers and acquisitions are relatively common occurrences. Recently, an account I oversee had agreed to be acquired. Following an abnormally long waiting period for the acquisition to get approved by government regulators, the buyer backed out. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong! The buyer had to immediately pay a whopping $55 million to the company and consider the money wasted trying to get the transaction to close. Why the big payout? When these types of transactions are especially large or complex, there is often something called a breakup fee or termination fee included in the documentation. If one of the parties backs out of the deal, they must pay the fee. Essentially, these fees are put in place to keep both parties committed to the process. Knowing that much money is at stake is intended to motivate them to keep working until the deal is done. 

So, what does that have to do with growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ? It’s not like we sign an agreement when we become a Christian, and if we fail on our side of the “deal” we face immediate consequences. But there are similarities. When we entrust our eternal salvation to Jesus Christ, we are “called into the fellowship” (1 Corinthians 1:9) with Him. We are joined together in what could be termed a partnership, a relationship worth fully committing to. And like any other relationship, it is one that will take work on our end to deepen and grow it. It is a work that we must commit ourselves to. Isn’t that what Paul did in the passage noted at the beginning? Although he was a very young Christian (at least in the faith), he spent three years in relative obscurity working on that relationship basically alone. He appears to have shut out other influences, spending those years (years!) focusing primarily on his relationship with Jesus. If we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus, it will take commitment and work. It isn’t something we can tend to here and there whenever we please. We wouldn’t do that with other important relationships (at least I hope we wouldn’t)!       

In that business illustration earlier, the commitment came with incentive and motivation to get the deal done. So as we look to grow in our relationship with Jesus, what incentive or motivation do we have? Why should we commit ourselves? There are many reasons, of course, but maybe we can name two. 

First—to know Jesus Christ better. He loves us, He knows us, and He gave Himself for us. But He also wants us to learn more of Him. We are mortal creatures, but the eternal Son of God can be known—known better—and it’s what He wants from us. Isn’t that astonishing? This alone should keep us committed to Him. 

Second—the more we know Him, the more we will want to be like Him. And what could be more pleasing to our Father than striving to be like His Son? Peter quoted the word of the Lord God in saying, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). While it is an impossible goal to meet—He is sinless, after all—it doesn’t make it any less noble a goal.    

Do you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Good—so do I. It is something that will require our commitment. With all we wholeheartedly commit to in this life—work, school, activities our kids are involved in, and so on—why would we ever balk at being all-in and committed to our relationship with Jesus Christ? It’s eternally significant and important, and we will never reach the point when we can let our foot off the gas. It is a lifelong commitment, but it’s a commitment worth making.

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