Commitment: the Choice to Stay

Welcome to day 8 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life. You can find the index of every post in this series here.

Today we’re moving to the second trait of a counter cultural life. This one might seem a little strange at first glance, but stick with me. It will make sense, I promise!

commitment is the choice to stay when it would be easier to go.


  • the act of committing
  • the state of being committed
  • the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself
  • a pledge or obligation

Those are the official definitions but for our discussion, we will use this concept:

Commitment is the choice to stay when it would it would be easier to go.

Have you ever been faced with a situation when it would be easier to walk away? I know I have. We see it in all sorts of contexts—jobs, churches, friendships, marriages, volunteering, etc.  There are few activities or relationships in our lives not affected by this question: When it’s hard, what will I do?

During Jesus’ ministry, many people were faced with the choice to stay with Him or go on without Him.  In John 6, Jesus was teaching about Himself and His place as the Bread of Life, the decision to stay or go came into clear focus for many who had been following Him.

When many of his disciples heard it, they say, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” … After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  John 6:60, 66

It got hard and they had to make a choice.

And so do we. Every day. We look at following Christ and recognize the reality of what He is calling us to be and live … and we have to choose.  This morning I was reading in Philippians and this verse stood out to me:

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. Philippians 1:29

Paul is telling the church at Philippi God has granted – GIVEN  – them two things: to believe in Christ AND to suffer for His sake. Both are gifts. But it isn’t always easy to see that, is it?

We bristle at the thought of suffering. Last week as the news filled with the targeted killing of Christians in Oregon, it got real for many of us.  This past Sunday night, our community held a prayer walk at our local schools. When we got back into the car, my 15-year-old daughter was very quiet. I asked her if she was okay and she said, “It’s just scary, Mom. Really scary.”

She’s right! We live in frightening times. The advent of 24-hour cable news and instant access social media has magnified all the horrific realities in our world. We know immediately when broadcasters are shot in broad daylight. Our phones give us the notification of Amber alerts sent out for missing children. We see pictures of children who died trying to escape from a bloody regime. We watch flood waters rise over communities.

But Jesus offers us something powerful in the midst of all the raging storms and overwhelming situations.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not a the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

His peace is the stronghold we cling to in the midst of the hard days. Paul wrote about the peace of Christ this way:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

When we’re faced with the choice to stay or go, to continue on in the faith we have claimed or to follow the crowd, it is the peace of God we must seek. This peace far surpasses the world’s promise of no conflict {a promise it can never fulfill, by the way} … the peace of Christ is the guard around us. A deep, abiding knowledge of Him and His love that protects both our hearts and our minds—this is what He offers when we choose to be committed to Him.

Have you ever been faced  with a situation when it would be easier to walk away? I know I have. We see it in all sorts of contexts—jobs, churches, friendships, marriages, volunteering, etc.  There are few activities or relationships in our lives not affected by this question: When it’s hard, what will I do?

The world says religion is a crutch, something for the weak. But as we remain in Christ, as we grow in our commitment to Him, we find the opposite is true. We know what Paul experience when God reminded him, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” {2 Corinthians 12:9}

Our commitment to follow God, to believe in Him and walk with Him—even in suffering—is radically different from the world we live in. Over the next two days, we will consider how our commitment to Him gives us the strength and willingness to be committed rightly in every other aspect of our lives.


Teri Lynne

How do you see a lack of commitment evidenced in our culture?

** One of my favorite devotional books is Streams in the Desert. Dayspring has a perpetual calendar featuring the wisdom from this book.  If you are in a season of struggling or just want to grow in your understanding of God’s presence in all situations, this is something that might be helpful and encouraging. Click on the image below for more details or to purchase this calendar.

Streams in the Desert - 365 Day Perpetual Calendar** affiliate links {I will receive a small commission if you purchase through these links.}

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Oh my!! Struck right into my heart and I thank you for such a Godly post. I am so struggling with so much on my plate at the moment with a very chronically ill child and the stress that has placed on my family and marriage. I need this Godly input and this series is such an on point blessing – I am so thankful for the wisdom right in the time I need it- He knew!!
    Blessings to you today Teri x

    • Carolyn, Your words were a grace to my heart this morning. I am praying for you and your family as you work through this difficult season. My hope is that God will meet you right where you are with the tender reminder that His mercies are new every morning.

      Teri Lynne

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