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The Test of Commitment

It never fails. Soon after one makes a commitment to do something, that commitment will be tested. How long one is able to remain committed to the desired task depends on the power of the commitment.

One of my commitments has been to walk every day. My typical course begins hard, with a tough walk up a steep hill from my driveway to the top of my subdivision. The course becomes easy at that point, leveling off to a straight, flat stretch that allows me to catch my breath and restore confidence in my ability to finish the lap. It gets even easier later as I go down a hill into a cul-de-sac. But that dead end means that I then have to return up the hill, an even steeper climb. Sometimes, often on a Monday morning, I can muster strength to finish only one lap. Most days, however, I can achieve at least two and sometimes as many as four laps.

Yesterday morning my commitment was sorely tested. Not only was it a Monday morning but also it was barely above freezing outside. For a Southern boy who has grown used to regular temps in the upper-80s to mid-90s, that’s quite a shock to the old system! Before I reached the top of that first hill, my ears were hurting. By the time I started the descent into the cul-de-sac, my forehead was numb. I had forgotten that I even had ears. Thankfully, my hands were warm, inserted into the pockets of my fleece-lined jacket. But that made me walk like a drunken sailor as I was unable to swing my arms in keeping with my fast pace and long stride. (I hope the neighbors, who already wonder about my sanity, didn’t see! Well, there was the policeman who was leaving for his shift in short sleeves, but he’s a transplanted Michigander whose broad-grinned greeting revealed that he obviously didn’t understand my bundled-up appearance. Yet even he had conceded something to the wintry assault on our region; he had foregone his usual shorts for long pants.)

One day soon, I’ll look back on this just-above-freezing temperature as a heat wave. Yes, even here in the sunny South we sometimes get below-freezing temps for days on end. But that will only further test my commitment to walking.

No matter what your commitment, it will be tested at some point. And your response to that testing will determine the power of your commitment.

Have you committed yourself to writing? What will it take to stop you, to deter you from that commitment? A snide, doubt-producing comment by a critical, non-writer friend? A publisher’s rejection of your submission? Remember how Theodor Geisel’s manuscript was rejected by 27 different publishers before it was finally published as And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, vaulting him into fame as Dr. Seuss.

Have you committed yourself to living a holy, God-honoring life? What will it take to deter you from that noble goal? A temptation to indulge in forbidden

things? A desire to spend your time reading spiritual junk food when you should be feeding on God’s Word? The myriad pleas or even taunts by unbelievers to join them in their worldly activities? The temptation to compromise biblical principles to avoid offending or so as not to bring attention to yourself? Remember, as Bob Jones Sr. said, “The test of your character [and your commitment] is what it takes to stop you.”

Making a noble commitment is great. Keeping that commitment is greater. Keep your commitments!

I’d be interested in hearing of the commitments you have made and how you’ve persevered in keeping them. Share them by commenting in the form below.

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