weekly theme #49 Faithfulness*
week containing the Sunday between October 2-8
Faithfulness seems to be a two-way street. I receive God’s faithfulness and he receives mine. Certainly, I have the better part of that arrangement, both in purity of the faithfulness and in its depth. Yes, without a doubt, I am getting the better end of this relationship. Then what keeps me from living in complete faith?
I think my faith in God is diluted by my faith in other items: people, money, position, medicine, strategy, organizations, and the like. All those things are valuable but only as secondary to faith in, and to, the Lord. What else hinders my faithfulness? I tend to think of faithfulness as a personally generated quality. Faithfulness is rooted in my faith, and I can’t generate faith on my own efforts. God gives faith to me. (Romans 12:3) Acknowledging my need for more faith and humbling myself to admit I don’t control it are two excellent steps toward being more faithful.
Trial and difficulty provide pressures that humble me and force me to turn to God. Either I can beg God to rescue me from my adversity or I can ask him to build my faith as I go through it. Yes, even faithful people have trials. Hebrews 11:32-12:2 shows that even faithful followers will suffer. The severity of suffering will vary, perhaps gauged by what I can bear. Suffering does not indicate poor faith in me or a lack of love and faithfulness by God. Suffering and faithfulness can live in the same house. In fact, Jesus modeled perfect faithfulness and love while simultaneously suffering. He was faithful to Father as an obedient servant, and he was faithful to me as the loving Lamb of God.
Jesus told a story about a man who entrusted his servants with money to invest for him while he traveled. (If you don’t know the story, see Matthew 25:144-30 or Luke 19:12-27.) The story leaves out one character that I longed to know about. What would have happened if the servant had invested the master’s money, but ended up with less than what the Master gave him? How would the master have responded? That bothered me for a long time, but someone told me that the master gave the money to the servants because he had faith they would succeed if they tried. I don’t need to hide from God’s assignments because he already knows the results. What happens will be no surprise to him. Therefore, even if I don’t have faith in myself, I can have faith in the Master’s faith in me!
God is faithful regardless of my unfaithfulness because faithfulness is his character. I can be faithful because of who he is and in the face of all other things.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.