“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of Your faithfulness.” (Psalm 89:1 NLT)
It’s interesting to me that the word “faithfulness” doesn’t appear in the King James Version of the New Testament, and only 19 times in the Old Testament, mostly in the Psalms. The word used in the Old Testament means: “firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness.” (Strong’s)
It’s also noteworthy that faithfulness isn’t a uniquely Christian term. You can find faithfulness among other religious groups, cults, athletes, soldiers, businesspersons, parents, even atheists. What’s my point? Faithfulness is an attractive attribute shared by many who have no interest in following Jesus yet share a fundamental component of what it means to be a Jesus follower. You can be faithful to a lot of things and not follow Jesus, but you cannot be a Jesus follower and not be faithful.
Remember, we’re looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, asking the Lord to use the floodlight of His Holy Word, to enable us to examine our hearts and minds to see if there are pockets of wickedness or disobedience lurking in the corners and crevices of our inner man/person. Why is that so important?
Faithfulness to anything is developed over time and the most visible, distinguishing characteristic is habit. What we faithfully commit to, in time, becomes a habit. For example, reading the Bible, attending church, prayer, being a faithful spouse, parent, employee, employer, and on and on it goes.
We are creatures of habit, and become faithful to the things we deem important, whether that’s eating healthy or being a couch potato. The habit to which we’re so faithful, in and of itself is amoral. In other words, the habit doesn’t care if it draws us closer to Jesus or pushes us further away, but once it’s got it’s claws in us, it can be very difficult to change.
Faithfulness as used in the Bible, speaks to conviction or belief that Jesus is who He claimed to be and that He alone is the Author of our eternal salvation. Faithfulness to anything, but especially as it relates to our relationship with God, begins with belief. As I’ve shared in other posts, belief, and faith(fulness) are two sides of the same coin.
Belief is the intellectual assent or agreement that something deserves our effort to do it habitually; faith is putting that belief into action. Belief says: “Jesus is Lord.” Faith says: “My life will now reflect that belief in and through the way I live – what I think, say, and do in every avenue of my being. In short, in and through the habits that I develop and allow to rule my life.”
Faithfulness not only requires and reflects discipline but gives visibility to the life of Christ living in us. How so? In the development of the Fruit of the Spirit. We submit the authority of our lives to the Lord, which is illustrated by the extent we’re able to love well; express joy appropriately; have peace under pressure; patience while under attack; kindness to those who don’t deserve it; goodness when it’s hard; faithfulness when it hurts; gentleness when we want to say or do something inappropriate; and self-control when we’re about to lose it.
Faithfulness reveals allegiance, inasmuch as we’re able to give visibility to the Ruler of our heart and the Lord of our life. If His lordship matters and His likeness is our goal, faithfulness to developing and following godly habits will reveal more quickly than anything else, who’s really in control of our lives.
By God’s grace and with His Spirit’s help, may we model faithfulness to Him as He models faithfulness to us. We’re the only “Bible” our lost loved ones and friends are reading. Let’s give them an accurate account of our faithful God through our faithfulness to Him and to them.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “A Closer Look at Faithfulness”
“ You can be faithful to a lot of things and not follow Jesus, but you cannot be a Jesus follower and not be faithful.”
A wonderful unwrapping of the word “faithfulness” and what it means. I really like the statement above.
Thank you brother!
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