Have you ever recommitted your life to Christ? Did you raise your hand or go forward again at an alter-call after already trusting in Christ? You are not alone, or should I say, we are not alone for it seems many if not most Christians recommit their lives to Christ at least once in their life and if you are in the alter-call tradition, have gone forward to more than one alter-call.
Before you blast me for being against recommitting one’s life to Christ, which I am not against per-say, allow me to explain a little further what I am attempting to point out. Every Christian’s walk goes through peaks and valleys. Sometimes we feel very close to God, and trust Him so much that we just see His providence and care so clearly. Other times we feel very far from God, and doubt His love for us, or even often forget God and live like He doesn’t exist. Such a ping-pong of emotions is normal and to be expected in the Christian faith. When one realizes they are not walking close to God, it also is a good response to “recommit” their lives back to God. My problem with “recommitment” is that often it is something done wrongly with the right attitude.
John 15:6 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Let us first begin by discussing what really is going on. When we feel far from God, or as many Theologians call the “dark night of the soul,” we need to remember that we actually are not far from God. “Get this through your head,” I often tell myself, “feelings do not dictate reality: I am in Christ, I can never be far from God again.” The truth of the matter is we all too often base our beliefs and actions on our feelings and not on what actually is the case. In Christ we are all adopted children of God, and He will never let us go, no matter how you feel. God’s pleasure in and commitment to you, has nothing to do with you and has everything to do with Christ.
Rom 5:8-11 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Remember that in Christ, God’s gifts and love abound to us, and it has nothing to do with us. God doesn’t love us because we are more lovely or worthy of that love than someone else. We are not loved because we did something to make God want to love us. In no way have we earned or merited the love of God, He, for His own good and secret reasons, decided to love us and reconcile us to Himself in Christ.
Eph 1:3-10 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Eph 2:1-10 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Therefore it doesn’t depend on us or our commitment to God, but His commitment to us. Going forward at an alter-call, or rededicating our life to God, earns us nothing before God. It may give us emotional benefit to recommit our lives to God when we realize we are not living according to the truth of the Gospel, but any action we take, whether it be repentance, going forward, trying harder etc. earns us zero favor from God. All the favor we need from God is already ours in Christ! We cannot earn anymore favor from God, than we can make our parents more our parents. Hence I do not like recommitments, what some of us call re-coms, precisely because it smacks of self-righteous, performance based religion. The attempt to earn our favor from God through right thinking, or behavior forgets that once you are in Christ, you are fully in Christ and accepted by God no matter what you do or do not do. You are never far away from God no matter what you feel, when you are in Christ, and being in Christ isn’t something you maintain through your effort, but the Holy Spirit Himself maintains the relationship.
Rom 8:26-30 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
This is my advise for Christians who desire to up their dedication to God and re-com their lives to Him. Stop what you are doing, and realize that you are trying to earn favor with God when Christ has already earned it for you. When you feel far from God, you don’t need to try harder to be close to Him, you need to realize that you are already close to Him in Jesus. Therefore rest in Jesus and ask God to reveal more of Himself to you, and who you already are in Him. You don’t need more works in your life, or more striving for Jesus, you need to simply know that Jesus has done it all and you can comfortably rest in that knowledge. Just like you must sit in a chair to demonstrate that you believe it can hold you, so too you must sit in Jesus’ arms to know that they can hold you. But unlike the chair analogy, sitting in Jesus’ arms does not require you to actually do anything, but stop trying to do anything for God, and simply believe His promises.
Only after you have stopped trying to do anything for God, and just believe that Jesus has done everything you needed to do on your behalf, can you, out of that restful position, start living a Christ centered, and God glorifying life. Only once you know that your works and thoughts will not earn you any favor with God, can you start to do things and think things that please Him. When we are fully trusting in Christ alone for our favor before God, can we actually please Him with our works, but it isn’t our works that please God (Christ’s works already have), it is simply the fact we are resting in Christ alone (which entails doing nothing, thus nothing is what we are earning), and not the joyous deeds that flow out of that rest.
It is like being a child who has everything, nothing you do has earned what you have, nor can you earn anymore, and out of that abundance you want to do good with what you have already been given. So too are our works before God, they flow out of the abundance already given to us by Jesus, we don’t earn any of it, and we just use it to be good children in God’s family knowing that no matter what we do, or don’t do, God will always be close to us and fully pleased with us because of Christ. The mystery of the Gospel is that no works of yours earn you favor before God, but when you realize you have favor before God and your works can’t earn you anything, then you really want to work for God out of the pure pleasure and joy it brings you and God and for no other reason what-so-ever.