Summary: Making my relationships last by learning why and how to keep my commitments to others.
A college man walked into a photography store with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the storeowner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph:
“My dearest Jim, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity.”
It was signed "Susan.” And after signing her name she wrote, P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”
We’re in the series on "Recession-Proof Relationships" and today we’re going to talk about another biblical topic that will enable us to have happy relationships even when the pressure’s on. We’re going to discover today what the Bible says about "Developing Durability, Making My Relationships Last."
There are times in every relationship, whether its marriage, friendship, a job, a church, etc., when your relationship loses momentum. There’ll be times when your emotions may tempt you to give up on a relationship because stress and problem resolution exact a toll them. You may become disillusioned. Your emotional reserve may become depleted. Sometimes you feel like you don’t have what it takes to carry on.
Furthermore it can be tough to balance all of your commitments. Being a husband or wife, a parent, a business owner or manager, an employee, a Christ follower, a servant to others - all at the same time - can be demanding.
How do you handle the feeling of being overwhelmed? Where do you turn?
In this series we’ve already talked about being authentic in our relationships and you’re going to need that. We’ve talked about some practical precepts for relationship repair. Employ those and they too will help.
But one often overlooked resource for great relationships, especially in our culture today, is COMMITMENT, because sometimes it is commitment that will hold a relationship together when all else fails.
As soon as I use the “C” word some of you flinch. Commitment has become a bad word when in reality it’s a great concept! Without commitment true friendships couldn’t exist. Business would come to a screeching halt. The concept of marriage and family would fail. Parenting would be out the door. Nations would crumble. Our world would turn to chaos without commitment.
Certainly we need to “count the cost” before we make relationship commitments. But to think that we can live happy and joy-filled lives without making and keeping commitments isn’t clear-headed thinking.
So today we’re going to see WHAT true commitment is; WHY it’s essential to good relationships; and HOW to keep our commitments – so that we can grow in our relationships and recession-proof them! So that we can DEVELOP DURABILITY and make our relationships last.
1. WHAT true commitment is.
To discover what true commitment is we need to look at God’s idea of commitment because a human viewpoint can be distorted. We often measure our relationships and commitments by other people’s relationships and commitments when we need to measure them by Scripture.
We also need to look at the cost before we look at the payoff. Commitment does have a price tag. This is perhaps why it has a black eye. People look at what’s expected of them to make relationship commitments and think they can’t afford the investment when in reality its one of the best bargain deals anywhere! What we gain in return for our investment can be astronomical! Here are just a few things that commitment is.
A. A commitment is AN AGREEMENT TO INVEST IN OTHERS.
One of the best friendships in history illustrates this – the friendship between Jonathan and David.
3 Jonathan made an agreement with David, because he loved David as much as himself.4 He took off his coat and gave it to David, along with his armor, including his sword, bow, and belt. 1 Samuel 18:3-4 (NLT)
What was Jonathan saying by giving all this valuable stuff of his to David? He was saying that their friendship was valuable! He was investing in David. As a shepherd, David didn’t own these things. After his famous defeat of Goliath he would need them as a soldier. So Jonathan - in an act of friendship commitment - gives David his soldier stuff.
This is particularly notable because, even though Jonathan was the king’s son he didn’t mind if David became king in his place. He wanted David to succeed even if it meant succeeding before him. That’s true commitment. Investing in others so that they’ll achieve more than they would if they weren’t in a relationship with you. We’ll get to the payoffs of this in a few minutes but this is part of the cost. This is part of what commitment consists of.