Jesus makes this promise right after giving his disciples the Great Commission. Go, tell, baptize, and teach! As an unconventional group, his followers needed to hear Jesus’ commitment to a long-term relationship. His guarantee showed them his willingness to be there for them, protecting, loving, empowering them. With him by their side, they knew life would be full and rewarding amidst uncertainty and challenge.

Such commitment, in human terms, is rare today. Our willingness to be there for others through thick and thin, is becoming a rare virtue. Today people meet up and split up with relative ease. For example, couples living common law are only one-quarter as likely to commit to the long-term compared to married couples. Among singles, the internet provides easy means to find partners for hook-ups that meet physical needs but fall short when it comes to companionship and genuine intimacy.

Perhaps people who live common law or for hook-ups believe that by not committing, they gain freedom and happiness. Maybe they think avoiding commitment is the better way to go.

However, studies indicate that the opposite is true: people in committed relationships are more likely to enjoy longer and more satisfying relationships. Committed people also feel less trapped because the person to whom they are committed meets needs for companionship and care. And when life becomes rough, committed individuals can lean on each other with calm assurance that they will not be abandoned.

God knows we need each other, and so he sent Jesus to show us true commitment. When Jesus came, he brought in a new form of relating from a core of love based on a redeemed life in him rather than loving because we have to. Better to imitate Jesus, who said he would be with us always — our brother, guide, and friend.

Are you committed to the people closest to you? I’m all in.

Lord God, you created us to live in relationship with you and others, and you gave us a picture of that in the way that Jesus lived and served among us. Then you sent your Spirit to help us pick up and act on Jesus’ way of enduring commitment. Thank you for new life in you and abundant living with each other, resting assured that you are with us to the end of the age.

Throughout This Day: Ask yourself how you might convey your commitment to people closest to you. It might be by telling them, or hugging them, or spending time together.

Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash