Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 11 : Be Perfect | Day 72

Take the Ultimate Step!

My greatest joy is watching youth and adults grow to spiritual maturity. My greatest sorrow is seeing once-dedicated believers reject Biblical commitments. What causes a believer to turn his back on that which he has learned and received from the Lord?

Commitments are good, but they do not tend to last unless they are based on foundational decisions.

Profound insights on why commitments don't hold up are given to us in the account of the rich young ruler. He had strong commitments to the commandments of God. When Jesus named several of them, the rich young ruler stated, “All these things have I kept from my youth up" (Matthew 19:20).

Jesus fixed His eyes upon him and "loved him" and said, “If thou wilt be perfect [teleios], go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Matthew 19:21). These instructions constituted total, unconditional surrender.

When the rich young ruler heard this requirement, “he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22). He was willing to make commitments but unwilling to make a total, unconditional surrender of his life and all that he had to Christ.

Commitments are based on our control and conditions. Total, unconditional surrender is based on God's control.

When Jesus called His disciples, He did not ask them to make a commitment to forsake some things and follow Him for a few years. He required them to forsake all, take up their crosses, and follow Him for the rest of their lives, regardless of the cost.

Actually, the requirements that Jesus gave to the rich young ruler had a reasonable basis, because as a member of the Jewish nation, he had a covenant obligation to "love his neighbour as himself." This was one of the commands that Jesus recalled for him and that the rich young ruler claimed to be following. (See Leviticus 19:18.)

This same instruction is given to us. We are urged to totally surrender our bodies as living sacrifices, and then we are challenged to “distribute to the necessity of the saints.” (See Romans 12:1-2, 13.)

Recently I asked a 22-year-old girl how her walk with the Lord was going. She said, "Not very good. I don't get much out of my daily Bible reading, and I am anxious about my future." She had made many commitments, but had never fully surrendered her life to the Lord. That day she did. When I asked her how she felt the next day, she exclaimed, "I have a new freedom!"

Have you made commitments that you have not been able to maintain because you have not yet totally surrendered your life to the Lord? I urge you to do this now, because it is only through total surrender that we will experience total success.

“... Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:46-48).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard