“Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.” Our promises use to mean something. As children, we took our commitment– no matter how trivial or time- sensitive– seriously. We meant what we said with our little mouths about a rumor we had heard or the score of last night’s game. It was the difference between life and death for us to break a promise. Our very life was staked on our fidelity.
But, words don’t mean much now. We say words and take them back. We say things that we later claim we didn’t mean. We don’t think through the impact of our words and later maintain that we misspoke. But, what of the promises that we have made to Christ?
Certainly, we meant it then but do we mean it now? And going to church is no indication of our allegiance. The story of the disciples removes our rose- colored glasses and any doubt that you can follow Christ and still deny him, that Jesus can call you by name and you still betray him. Proximity is not an indication of one’s ability to keep a promise. Friends and enemies share the same space.
So how do you or I know how committed you are until a time of testing? How does God know that you are committed? Would we know if our commitment changed? Because betrayal is a slow backing away. We take long breaks and then Sundays off before we leave the faith altogether. It simply starts with our fellowship.
Consequently, confessing Christ as our personal Lord and Savior is not a one- time declaration. Instead, we must confess Christ daily as there are continuous assaults on his position in our lives. Everyday, the forces of our society, the traditions of our family, the tyranny of our workload threatens to unseat him.
And what of our commitment to Christian community? What happens to our confession to love when the community does not reflect our culture, when the people “don’t look like us”, when it becomes apparent that we have created a version of Christianity that suits our people group and no one else’s? Then, we realize that our promise was conditional and the challenge to “renew our minds” so that we become one in Christ is presented (cf. Romans 12.2,5). Because we crossed our hearts and hoped to die to self and all its carnal desires, too.
Didn’t you promise?