Suppose you’re swimming with some friends, and one of them challenges you to a competition to see who can swim the longest distance underwater. You’re up for the challenge, and you decide that no matter what you’re going to win.
About 45 seconds into the race, you begin to find things extremely difficult. You’ve told yourself that you’re going to be committed. You’ve told yourself that you won’t fail. Out of all your friends, you’re easily the most determined to win. But now you’re finding that your commitment to win isn’t enough. And before you’ve even realized what you’re doing, you’ve come up for air.
Why did this happen? How can it be that your commitment failed you? Why did you give up so easily?
Well the fact is, it didn’t matter how determined you were. Eventually your commitment to win was overpowered by your desperate need for oxygen.
COMMITMENT VS DESPERATION
Unfortunately, many people see becoming a Christian in a similar way.
We often hear people describe their conversion experience as the moment they ‘made a commitment’. When church leaders explain how a person can have their sins forgiven and go to heaven, they often tell people that they need to ‘commit to living the Christian life’.
But there eventually comes a time when we’re unable to keep our commitment. No amount of determination and effort and self-discipline can keep us from failing at some point along the journey.
The good news is that we are not saved by our commitment.
Just as our desperate need for oxygen is far more powerful than our commitment to stay underwater, our desperate need for Jesus is far more powerful than any commitment we might make to live the Christian life.
Becoming a Christian is not about committing to live the Christian life. Rather it’s about realizing that we are unable to commit to anything, that we are completely helpless to save ourselves, and that we lie naked before God in desperate need of a Saviour.