The story of Jehu illustrates the difference between being highly committed and fully committed
4 min read
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”-Jesus, Matthew 16:24-25
What do you do when you want to go swimming, but the water’s a little cold? My wife, who happens to be my favorite person in the whole world, would say “Just forget it.” She cannot tolerate cold water.
But seriously, whether it’s the pool at the hotel, or the ocean, would you tiptoe into the icy water slowly until you get used to it, or would you rather just go all in?
Of course, to go all in is best. We know this. To lead with your head and immerse yourself in the frigid water is the only way to conquer the cold. Otherwise, it’s too easy to turn around and back out.
This same principle also applies to following Jesus. To fully commit is the most meaningful way to go about it. Try to go halfway and you’ll just get frustrated. If your heart isn’t in it, the rest of you won’t be either.
Committment maximizes the experience.
Jehu was a guy who was highly committed to God, but not fully committed.
For background, God had chosen Jehu to be the guy to execute His word on the house of Ahab. Because of King Ahab’s wickedness, the Lord was angry and promised that his lineage would be destroyed. And Jehu was just the person for this job. He was intense, aggressive, and he got the job done in bloody fashion (2 Kings 9-10).
Jehu cleaned house. That is, everyone’s house except his own. In zealous obedience to God, Jehu carried out righteous destruction on Ahab, Jezebel, and their family. He destroyed their idols, too.
But there’s an asterisk on Jehu’s legacy. He was mostly committed, but not fully. Instead of getting rid of all the idols in the land, Jehu spared his personal favorites. He left the golden calves still standing (2 Kings 10:28-29).
When it came down to it, this was the assessment of Jehu’s life:
“But Jehu did not obey the Law of the Lord, the God of Israel with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins of Jeroboam...” 2 Kings 10:31
The phrase, “all his heart” is key. Since everything originates in the heart, the heart of the matter is always the matter of the heart. As a believer, Jehu’s heart was highly committed, yet not fully committed. Measured by his obedience to God’s Word, his level of committment was less than 100%.
We can all relate.
In his book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Pastor Louis Giglio gives a helpful explanation on how commitment fits into a relationship with Jesus:
“You have a relationship with God through Jesus. Christ’s work on the cross got you out of death, so now your life can be lived fully surrendered to Him. You are alive in the Spirit, alive by the Spirit, alive for Christ, alive in Christ, to live the life of Christ so that He might be glorified. This is a call to surrender completely to Jesus.”
In other words, we don’t go deeper in committment in order to gain love and acceptance from Jesus. We go deeper because He already gave us His love and acceptance. He gave it to us on the front end, before we ever thought of committing our lives to Him.
But to be clear, no one is saying this is easy. To surrender is a daily choice and some days are much harder than others. And to surrender is not to be confused with giving up. Hardly. Rather, to surrender is an intentional choice to chase hard after the One who gave Himself completely for us.
And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.2 Corinthians 5:15
So, Jehu’s story gives us an opportunity to assess our own committment level today. Are we all in? If not, why not? Are we loving and serving God with our whole heart? Or, not so much? Are there areas of our lives where we are holding out or holding back from God? Are the golden calves still standing?
The Lord Jesus, who gave 100% on our behalf, desires that we do the same for Him. He calls us to follow him without hesitation. Sure, the water gets deep and sometimes it is cold. But once you’re all the way in, there’s nothing else like it.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.