Dedication is more than skin-deep. Two weeks ago, we celebrated Independence Day. However, few people realize the great price paid by the men who wrote and signed our famous Declaration. When they signed this document, they literally put a death warrant on their heads by committing treason against the British government. Of the 56 signers, 5 were captured and tortured by the British army as traitors, 12 had their homes ransacked and burned, 2 lost their sons as casualties of the Revolutionary War, 2 had their sons captured, and 9 fought in the war and died from their injuries. Theirs was no superficial commitment. They were playing for keeps.

Our hearts swell with patriotic pride as we hear Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Yet how many Christians are willing to say, “Give me Christ, or give me death!”? Are we willing to pledge life and loyalty to our Savior? Such a bold declaration has to be backed up with bold dedication.

It is far easier to talk about commitment than to actualize it in one’s life. The committed Christian’s challenges include communicating the gospel, bringing the lost to a decision about Christ, and initiating the discipleship process when they are converted. Christians of this caliber are in the minority. They are frequently ostracized and criticized by their uncommitted Christian counterparts. They sometimes have glaring personal inadequacies, yet they carry on in spite of them. When they reach the end of their lives, they experience the eternal benefits of their commitment to Christ. Will you join the ranks?

How much are you willing to pay for your faith in Christ? Will you gladly suffer reproach from friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers for His sake? Then live like it — show the world that you are playing for keeps.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.