If we are not committed in our heart, no number of “tools” (i.e. gadgets) will help us stick with a program and attain our goal. This is true for anything in life, whether it is running a race, changing our habits, improving our physical health, or getting Spiritually healthy and growing in the Lord.
We can use tools and gadgets with all the bells and whistles, but they won’t help us make a lasting change unless we are first committed to the change in our heart. We can have the newest fitness tracker that reminds us to move every hour, but it won’t help if we tell ourselves “not right now, I’m too busy… I’ll make it up in next hour” (which never comes). The Bible with notes and commentary or the devotional app that reminds us to read and pray everyday cannot help us either if we tell ourselves “not now, I’ll do it later” (but “later” often never comes). Highlighting and making notes in our Bibles will not help us, if we never go back and reread them next time we are in that chapter or put them into practice in our life (James 1:22). Tools can help a committed heart, they cannot make a heart commit. We must first have a committed and surrendered heart, without this, we cannot reach our goal of crossing the finish line and obtaining our “prize” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:24.
A committed and surrendered heart will naturally align itself with Christ and His will. When we are aligned with Christ, we are able to walk in His strength and not our own, reaching any goal in our heart that is within His plan. Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like, but if we trust Him and keep our commitment to Him, we will ALWAYS reach our goal. It is when we take our eyes off of Him, that we veer off course and run into problems (Matthew 14:28-30).
In Luke 9, Jesus talks about how we must make a commitment and not look back, keeping our eyes straight and staying on course, in order to reach the goal of the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:62 (AMP)
To fully understand Luke 9:62, you must know when plowing a field you pick a point on the horizon and walk toward that point, keeping your eyes fixed, never stopping or looking away until you get to the end of each row. If you deviate your eye from that point or stop before the end of the row, the row will not be straight and it will impact the health of the crop. Understanding this concept, we can apply it to our walk with Christ. Are our eyes fixed on our goal or are we distracted? Are our rows straight or sloppy and crooked, because we are not fully committed to the goal of serving Christ?
The next question to ask ourselves is if we are surrendered to Christ’s plan or are we following our own plan? Everyone’s plan (path) to get to the prize is different, and without being surrendered to the Lord’s plan, we often find ourselves trying to follow someone else’s plan. Following someone else’s plan will lead to burn out and often the end result is a lack of commitment.
God made each one of us different and He knows what each of us needs; more importantly, He knows how He can use each of us to “plow” His field for the harvest. Each of our paths are different and He gives each of us the strength, grace, and wisdom for our own path, not anyone else’s path. If we are feeling burned out or frustrated in our lives, we should ask ourselves who’s path are we following? What do our plow rows look like? If our eyes are fixed on Him as we follow His path (plan) for us, our rows will be straight.
The last question to ask is, how hard is it to follow the path. Is it rough, hard, and heavy. Or is is light and easy? Are you doing it “on your own” or are you partnering with Christ? When plowing a field, a yoke was used to fasten the animals to the plow. The yoke went across the top of both animals to lighten the load and make the work easier. The older more experienced animal would take the lead and teach the younger how to plow correctly and make the work easy. The yoke only worked if the younger animal was willing to submit and follow the lead and path of the older. The Lord uses this this analogy in Matthew 11:29-30 when inviting us to following Him.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV)
If we commit to fixing our eyes on Him and not look away, our path will be straight. If we surrender and follow His plan, we will walk in His strength, grace, and wisdom. If we partner with Christ and allow Him to take the lead (take His yoke), our load will be easy and light. There will be trials and tribulations, but He will be there with us, sometimes carrying us through the storm. If we commit our way to the Lord and follow His plan He will bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).