Now that's a word I have struggled with. Since my return from a very complicated war, and in the days of my active addiction, that was a word with a floating target. Tired of paying attention to leaders who did not know what they were doing, and to people who kept trying to push me away, my commitment became to myself only.
Only through a radical change of faith, when I first came to believe in Jesus, did my level of commitment change. Interestingly enough it was an Old testament story in the Book of Daniel that helped alter my way of thinking - those three Jewish men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who did not waver in their faith, no matter what consequences they faced.
I had learned this concept in the Marines, for God and country, but many bottles of alcohol had drowned out the rationalization of this fact. But these three men exhibited what a commitment if life, faith, marriage, purpose (you fill in the blanks) actually meant. You don't waiver just because it gets too hot to handle.
These classic words still resonate in my soul - "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up".
For God and country, for the sake of our children, for the freedom we have in this country, for the ones we love, that word needs to remain in our every day vocabulary - Commitment, no matter what!
Amazingly they came out of the fiery furnace with no burns, no smell and no harm done and managed to change the heart of the King. Maybe that's what we need the most from each other, especially now, the commitment to believe in God, to love each other as he loves us, and to put this into practice rather than just talking about it.
That might help change the hearts of those who have misplaced this word. Selah!
On the Boeing 707 Jet aircraft, a line of small blades is placed halfway down the upper wing..These little blades that stick up from the otherwise smooth wings are called "vortex generators". They are put on the plane for the purpose of creating turbulence in the airflow that passes over the wing.
The plane designers had discovered that the Boeing 707 would not steer accurately when the air current is too smooth. Seems like our addiction recovery does not steer accurately when everything is too smooth either. We seem to need a little roughness and turbulence in our program to make progress.
When Jesus got in the boat to cross the lake with his disciples, he knew he was about to become that spiritual vortex for them. As the thunder grew louder, the waves rushed over the boat and the wind almost blew them out of the water, they woke him up and shouted "Lord we are going to drown". As He calmed the storm, he taught them something about having faith in the turbulence, he awoke their faith in Him.
He is that vortex turbulence for us now, the one that reminds us this human race is not for sprinters in extreme highs and equally extreme lows - it is about distance runners who don't panic and bail out or use when things get a little rough. He is the one who steers us accurately into understanding how to live not only in those highs and lows. but also in that smooth sometimes mundane middle of life.
And when we need to be reminded who is steering, and where we are going, he lays out this perfect scenario for us in James 1:2-4 NLT as if to say, "This is your captain speaking.....Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. For when your endurance is fully developed you will be standing in character and ready for anything!
Fasten your seat belts brothers and sisters, we are on an adventure of faith!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.