Last year, Jeff and I had the privilege to meet Joel Osteen. We were asked to come to his church as a part of “Significant Churches”. Along with several other churches, our group consisted of less than a couple of hundred people in a session with Pastor Osteen. I found him to be true to his commitment, smiling and quite personable. He wept several times, humble and very encouraging to all of us. He is a prime example of a successful leader and a committed person in all areas of his life. His mother upon speaking to her was quite the same in friendliness and respect. What I found in both of them is a high commitment in reaching others for Christ. We both prayed for a gentlemen who suffered with cancer there at the table. I felt it to be a honor to be a part of their ministry not only for that day but also a part in the Kingdom of eternity.
What is commitment? A pledge, a promise, a responsibility or dedication? So many people don’t view commitment as lasting, enduring or means to show loyalty, duty or pledge to something or someone. Everyone wants to be a part of something yet they are unwilling to commit to be successful and give only part in the form of what I call “convenience commitment.” Convenience commitment is not really commitment at all, it is just filling in space or time in doing what you want for selfish reasons.
The most important single factor in individual success is commitment. Commitment ignites action. To commit is to pledge yourself to a certain purpose or line of conduct fully. It also means practicing beliefs consistently. There are, therefore, two fundamental conditions for commitment. The first is having a sound set of beliefs. The second is faithful adherence to those beliefs with your behavior. Possibly the best description of commitment is “persistence with a purpose”. There is an old saying that goes, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”
Anything that is successful or anyone who becomes successful is a person who is committed wholeheartedly to the purpose. In other words, a marriage is something two people commit themselves to and is a choice. If you want it to have a loving, lasting and happy marriage, then your behavior will show the actions to make it happen. To have an effective commitment is to have commitment to oneself, to others, to a goal, and produce results. The truth is, demonstrating commitment is hard work. Wavering commitment is usually seen as no commitment at all. The only way to achieve a reputation for commitment is through determination and persistence. Genuine commitment stands the test of time.
What is the first action one must do to show they are committed? The first action is called supporting. Genuine support develops a commitment in the minds and hearts of others. This is accomplished by focusing on what is important and leading by example. A crucial aspect of true support is standing up to those who would undermine commitment, those whose words or actions show disrespect. The second action underlying commitment is called improving. Improving stretches our commitment to an even higher level. Commitment means a willingness to look for a better way and learn from the process. It is the combination of both supporting and improving behaviors that makes up the practice of commitment. Separately neither action is capable of sustaining commitment. Promoting alone can come across as a shallow. Continuous improvement can be seen as “good is never good enough”. Together they provide a needed balance. Both are essential to commitment.
When your competition scores big against you, when the money dries up, or when the glamour of success wears off, this is when it is easiest to compromise commitments. The real test comes when you can hold the line against the easy route of compromise. People who hop to one commitment to another without longevity never reach success or attain happiness because they continue to run to what is easiest for them.
Fortunately, paying the price that commitment commands has payoffs worth the cost – a reputation for integrity and, even more important, the commitment of others in return. Commitment is a two-way street. You only get it if you are willing to give it. If you want others to follow you, then you must be willing to follow others first and lead by example with the actions of support and improvement.
Think about your commitments in your life right now. In relationships, family, friends, in work, in church, in hobbies or anything in which you have promised to commit to. How long do you stay in your commitments? Do you lead by example? We must realize our children will practice the same techniques of our own commitments and we set the example.
Joel Osteen’s father passed to his son not only a mega church but also a lasting example of the results of commitment in which is still practiced today.
“You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church.”
If you can be committed to both equally on a level determined with consistency without wavering, then you my friend will find success in all the areas you are committed to. If you are only committed halfway, then you will find half way success. Find commitment in the true form and you will become the successful person you want to be.
Prayer: Lord I pray that you continue to feed me with your word. I pray my commitments will remain true, without wavering and bring you glory. I don’t want to separate myself from you by committing to other things in which compromises my integrity or walk with you. Help me make decisions that will be best for everyone including those who are around me. In Jesus name. Amen.
I Corinthians 10:24, 13:4- 7
New International Version (©1984)
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.