LUKE: Yoda! I am ready. I... Ben! I can be a Jedi. Ben, tell him I'm ready!
YODA: Ready, are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained! A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!

LUKE: I won't fail you - I'm not afraid.
YODA: Oh, you will be. You will be.

Thanksgiving break was a good one for me, despite having to tell people what I’m doing next semester about a thousand times over. I should issue memos! The best part, though, was seeing one of my best friends in the world, whom I haven’t been able to spend significant time with since a year and a half ago.

Steve Loudon and I think so similarly and have such similar interests that we call ourselves the Jedi Twins; a formidible pair whether it be in sports (especially Ultimate, of course), theology, philosophy, or Bible and Star Wars trivia (my dad just about fell over when we both knew that Lando Calrissian’s Cloud City was designed to mine Tibanna gas).

Hanging out with Stevo reminded me of Star Wars, so I’ve been relating everything to that fine set of movies lately; hence, the above quotes. See, in preparing for and leading today’s Bible study (kudos to those few but faithful who showed up), I was struck by the importance of commitment. Following God requires the same things required of a Jedi; the deepest commitment, a most serious mind, a focus on the present without losing sight of of goals, a high level of discipline. Will things get hard? Will we be afraid? Of course. The reward, though, is greater than the price.

In our Bible study (e-mail me if you want a copy of the outline), we discussed how God asks for us to be fully committed to him. We’re not talking about calling yourself a Christian every day until you die. We’re talking about being sold out, on fire, and completely focused on glorifying God with every move you make. We ought to do this because A) he deserves it after all he’s done for us, B) it’s our share of a consistent relationship with him, and C) it’s in our best interest.

Further, we talked about what that actually MEANS. We didn’t cover everything, but we did talk about how commitment can mean:
-A resolve to make right choices and follow God BEFORE the choice comes up
-Consistency in our relationship with him and in serving him
-Focus on serving him above all else, including above family or career or school
-Using our talents to serve him to the full extent of our ability
-Counting the cost of complete devotion

After discussion, we did an exercise. I know, I know. STOP THE PRESSES, BEN QUIT TALKING FOR TEN MINUTES. Yeah, well, whatever. Makes you wish you came, huh? Anyways, we took some time to honestly evaluate ourselves and then write down specific areas where we could shore up our commitment to serving God. I was amazed at the depth and specificity (yes, it’s a word) of the responses. All 6 of us, I think, were able to recognize some important things about ourselves and where we ought to be. After writing my own ideas –and conveniently copying from a few of my friends- I came up with a list of things that I want to focus on in my life to improve my commitment to God.

In seeking to be more committed to glorifying God in my life, I will strive to;
1. Pray EVERY NIGHT, especially while in Washington D.C.
2. Pray for one specific person each week
3. Have quiet times every day. Not just studying time or lesson-writing time, but actual quiet time.
4. Fast for at least one day every month.
5. Find ways of keeping myself accountable in D.C.
6. Set spiritual goals at the start of each month for that month.
7. Memorize at least one scripture verse (preferably more) each month.
8. Be honest with myself about my spritual life, and avoid rationalization.
9. Schedule a set time each day for God (random quiet times quickly become absent quiet times).
10. Find new things in the Bible. Instead of going to areas already knowing what I’ll find, I must search for new concepts and ideas. If it weren’t for my bible study, I’d never have had even a remote understanding of predestination!
11. Remind myself consistently that nothing I have is mine.

My apologies to those whom I have blatently plagerized, but you guys had great ideas!

So the question is, will I be able to follow through? In all honesty, probably not. D.C. is going be rough, and I fully expect that my many weaknesses will find ways of manifesting themselves. However, it’s a “rabbit” that I must stive for (kudos to those who remember what that means). It’s a goal that I desire because it’s what God wants for me, and that should be enough.

In other news, I received a great blessing today. For those who haven’t been told, I had the opportunity to build a friendship with a Muslim guy named Isaac from one of my classes. For the first few days of class, we were at each other’s throats, intense and certain in what we believed. However, God gave me an opportunity to extend the hand of friendship… and I bought his books for him. No, I’m not kidding; $115 bucks worth. Eventually, he dropped the class, but forgot to pay me back. I must admit to fretting a bit, but God let me stay in control… and blessed me for it. A month ago, he paid me back. Not in full (15 short), but enough that I was able to survive. At the time, I was honored when he said, “Almost nobody would go out of their way for another person like that, and I really appreciate it.”

The beautiful thing about this is that today, I saw him again! I hadn’t seen him since that day, but today I did, and we had a good chat. He again thanked me for helping him out, and then told me that he’d be praying for me (sweet… I’ve got two major religions covered. All I need is to buy a yamukeh, and I’m all set!). I told him the same, and walked away excited, having been reminded that God accomplishes his goals through my faithfulness, not my eloquence.

To top the day off, God gave me a lot of confidence through the vehicle of a couple close friends, who reminded me of the great joy that it is to fulfill the second most important commandment. Thanks so much, you guys.

Well, this Jedi needs to get to bed. Before I do, though, I would encourage you to stop and take a look around you. Maybe your commitment to God needs a little renovation, and maybe your bed will be empty longer than you think it ought to. In the end, though, there’s no greater blessing than serving a God who is in complete control of all that happens, and has your best interest at heart to boot. Till next time.

“It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
-Sir Winston Churchill

What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussions concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should this profit thee without the love and grace of God?
-Thomas à Kempis, Of the Imitation of Christ

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