A guy went into a card shop a few days before Valentine’s Day. He told the clerk: “I want a card that says ‘To the only woman I will ever love.’ ” And then he added one more request, “I’ll take five of them.” That guy didn’t know a thing about faithfulness, did he?
Being close only counts in throwing hand grenades. Real faithfulness is never is a day late, never misses a beat, and never falters. Real faithfulness is committed and exclusive. Being faithful is devoted, dedicated, and loyal.
There are three words in the Scriptures that are translated as “faithfulness.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew infinitive kun means to be certain, to be firmly established, to be reliable, to set in order, or to be steadfast. The other Hebrew word is emunah which means firmness, steadfastness, fidelity, faithful, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, stability, steady, trust, or truth. In the New Testament, the Greek word pistos has a similar meaning as faithful, reliable, believe, believer, sure, or trustworthy.
Taking these together, one might define the word “faithfulness” as repetitive follow-though and consistency. Faithfulness is a kept promise and an exclusive commitment. Faithfulness is reliability over time. Faithfulness is trustworthiness without exception. Faithfulness is firmness without wavering. Faithfulness is steadfastness without backing down. Faithfulness is loyal and dependable.
So what does it mean for a Christian to be faithful?
First, faithfulness is an attribute of godliness. If we are to be godly, we have to be like God. And faithfulness is one of the key characteristics of our great God. Here are just some of the references that tell of God’s faithfulness: Psalm 57:10: “For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Psalm 86:15: “But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 119:90 says: “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures.”
Secondly, faithfulness is an unfaltering action. There are two equivalents of faithfulness in our culture. The United States Marines slogan is Semper Fidelis, which is Latin for “always faithful.” You can’t be faithful part of the time. Faithfulness is repeated and continued. The United State Postal Service has this slogan: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Faithfulness is constant and incessant.
Think of it this way:
· If your car started half the time, would it be faithful?
· If your water heater gave hot water every other shower, would it be faithful?
· If your television cable cut out once a night, would it be faithful?
· If your employer paid you & missed a paycheck once in a while, would they be faithful?
· If your spouse had an affair once in awhile, would they be faithful?
· If your employees showed up ¾ of the time, would they be faithful?
By definition, faithfulness means no let-downs.
· When a person is faithful, Jesus is Lord all the time.
· When a person is faithful, we are godly all the time.
· When a person is faithful, we are principled the time.
· When a person is faithful, we honor God all the time.
· When a person is faithful, we are servants all the time.
· When a person is faithful, we are stewards all the time.
· When a person is faithful, we are ethical all the time.
God is calling you and me to seek 100% faithfulness. So, how can you become more faithful?
1. Be inspired about God’s faithfulness. Look at the way the heroes were faithful and see how they were faithful. In the middle of great pain and disappointment, the prophet Jeremiah was inspired by God’s faithfulness. In Lamentations 3:22-23, Jeremiah said: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” David wrote in Psalm 36:5 with this enthusiastic thought: “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies.” The writer of Psalm 100:5 wrote with passion: “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Faithful people sing of the faithfulness of God.
2. Be evangelistic to others about God’s faithfulness. Notice how David declared Psalm 40:10: “I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly.” Isaiah (38:19) declared: “The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.” Give your testimony to others how God has been faithful to you, your family, and your friends.
3. Be committed to be faithful. Make a covenant with God to be faithful and then keep your commitment. Joshua 24:14 "Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness” Proverbs 3:3 says: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Make a commitment to follow Jesus in your prayer life, in your daily reading of the Bible, in your daily witness to others, and in your minute-by-minute worship of Almighty God.
4. Be faithful in keeping your promises. God blesses your faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” If you keep your promises, God will bless your life!
5. Be faithful in the little things. In the Parable of the Talents that Jesus told, the master is quoted as saying: "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” In Luke 16:10-11, Jesus said: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Start being faithful with the little things.
5. Be an intercessor and a prayer warrior. Psalm 143:1: “ O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in Your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.” If you are seeking God in prayer and asking Him for great things, the chances are that your will see more of God’s miracles and faithfulness.
6. Be a person who lives a Spirit-filled life. Galatians 5:17 commands us to “walk in the spirit.” When we walk in the spirit, there will be fruit. Galatians 5:22 tells us that that fruit is: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness …” Do you want to be faithful? Then live a Spirit-controlled life that yielded to the Lord Jesus!
7. Be accountable to God. Don’t ever forget 1 Samuel 26:23 which says: “The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness.” Proverbs 16:6 says: “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.” One day you and I will answer to God at the Judgment. On that day, God will evaluate our faithfulness. So, in this life, you might ask the people who know and love you to evaluate your faithfulness. And remember your accountability to God for your life, values, words, behavior, and so much more.
While God is gracious and forgiving, He still is looking for faithfulness from His people. The world may say “close enough” and change allegiances. But when God’s people have faithfulness, they stand firm with persevere and resolve. Faithful Christians start with God and finish with God, They keep God’s law, follow Christ’s example, and have a commitment to God that is unwavering.
If you aspire to faithfulness, then you must live faithfully!
It means you must be faithful in your thinking.
It means you must be faithful in your relationships.
It means you must be faithful in your marriage.
It means you must be faithful in your family.
It means you must be faithful in your spiritual disciplines.
It means you must be faithful in your ministry.
It means you must be faithful in your business dealings.
It means you must be faithful in your spiritual gifts.
It means you must be faithful in your calling.
It means you must be faithful in your old age.
One of my favorite songs is one that Steve Green sings. It is called “Find Us Faithful” and it goes like this:
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful
When the aged Apostle John (3 John 1: 3) wrote to those younger in the faith, he said: “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.” When God’s people are faithful, it gives your pastors and all those around you great joy! I love to see your faithfulness! How many people followed God in their youth only to become critical, bitter, angry, self-centered people who are far away from God in the late season of life. But let’s not allow it to be me or you. So, folks, follow God throughout your life.
As the Apostle Paul came to the close of his life, he wrote to Timothy. He told him: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Be like the sainted Apostle Paul, folks! Finish well! Be faithful!
I love being your pastor!
Pastor Mark Platt