By Rick Warren
Last month I started a four-part examination of how following God can lead to success. I discussed the first two principles: Be clear in your direction and Be confident in your desires. This month, I will discuss the third principle.
3. BE COMMITTED TO YOUR DECISION.
That means once you have started, never, ever look back. Luke 9:62 tells us, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven.” Don’t look back! Any farmer knows if he looks back while he’s plowing, he’s going to plow a crooked line. Commitment is the key to accomplishment. No commitment means you’ll never finish anything.
This is what God says in verse 9b “Joshua, don’t be terrified. Don’t be discouraged. For the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go.” Stick with it! Hang in there! Keep at it! Keep on keeping on! Be committed to your decision. Once you’ve made it, stick with it.
What are you committed to? A lot of people today are afraid of commitment. Maybe they begin one job and that gets tough so they switch to another. They’re constantly switching jobs. Or maybe they’re in a marriage and they won’t make a commitment to that. They move from one relationship to another. Some people flirt from one project to the next. They never finish anything. Some people, even ministry leaders, float in and out of churches because they cannot make a commitment. The favorite phrase is, “If it doesn’t work out…” The fact is, high achievers make a decision and they die by it.
Notice what Joshua did. In Joshua 3 he prepared the people to be committed, to make the effort. They were getting ready to go into the Promised Land. They were on one side of the Jordan River getting ready to cross it. This was graduation day. This was the point of no return. This was the moment of truth, the time of decision.
It’s like the Space Mountain Ride at Disneyland. There’s a long line up to Space Mountain. There are many signs as you’re going up that ramp that says, “If you have any of these problems, don’t go on this ride.” And it lists basically everything the human race could possibly have. There are many gates where you can chicken out before you get there. But at some point on the Space Mountain ride there’s no turning back. The only way out is … down.
I remember when Kay was pregnant with our first child. During the last two weeks of the pregnancy she was anxious, having never had a child before and she said, “I honestly feel like I’m at the top of a roller coaster and the only way out of this situation is to go through it.”
Sometimes that’s what you have to do. You have to commit yourself to something so there’s no way out.
Look what Joshua did in 3:5. “Then Joshua said to the people, `Consecrate yourselves. For tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.'” Consecrate — that means an act of total, unconditional, unreserved commitment. It means laying it all on the line. It means going for broke. They were in essence saying, “God, we’re going to go for it even if we fail!” And that, says God, is a principle of success. Be clear in your destination. Be confident of your desires. Be committed to your decisions.
There are some things you can’t do a little at a time. Like if I were to say, “I’m going to jump across a gap. But I’m going to take several baby steps.” It wouldn’t work. You can’t jump across the Grand Canyon in baby steps. You go for broke and either do it or don’t do it. This is what God is saying here. Be committed to your decisions.
There are some things that typically will discourage you and will tempt you to give up.
1. Problems. Problems will tempt you to give up. Every good idea, has something wrong with it. Every good idea has a problem to it. You don’t reject something just because it’s is difficult. Even the Promised Land had problems. As a Christians leader, a problem should never get you down, except down on your knees. Problems should be turned into prayer requests. Problems will tempt you to give up.
2. Pressures will tempt you to give up. You want to say, “This is too much responsibility! I’m going to throw in the towel. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t handle the pressure. I want to quit. I want to give up.”
3. People will tempt you to give up, to let go of your commitments. They will disappoint you. Sometimes you’ll be misunderstood. Maybe ridiculed, maybe criticized. The fact is, negative attitudes are contagious.
Commitment is the third key in God’s strategy for success is to never give up. Be clear in your direction. Be confident in your desires. Be committed to your decisions.
Join me next month as I continue looking at God’s strategy for your success.
Rick Warren is the Founding Pastor of Saddleback Church. He is also the author of the bestselling books, Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church.