Faithfulness: The virtue of reliabilityLatest Issue, Where's the Faith? Thursday, October 26th, 2017
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!
As we remain connected to the Source of all good, the spirit of God will grow in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And as God’s light shines in us, it will nourish the health and growth of this fruit of the Spirit!
Let’s talk about faithfulness. The Latin word for faithfulness helps us understand this Godly trait. We see that Latin word as a part of the motto of the United States Marine Corps – Semper Fi! Which means, “Always faithful.” Which comes from the Latin word fideles, where we get the word fidelity and faithful ones.
Faithfulness means to be trustworthy, to be loyal. Other synonyms include; dedicated, steadfast, devoted, dependable, accurate, true, conscientious, dutiful, careful, scrupulous and thorough. Theologian, William Barkley, calls faithfulness “the virtue of reliability,” meaning you can absolutely depend on a person who is faithful.
This characteristic is hard to find, even going all the way back to the Hebrew Scriptures. The psalmist lamented the lack of faithfulness, saying: “Help, Lord, for the godly are no more. The faithful have vanished from among the people.” Psalm 12:1 And we read in Proverbs 20:6, “Many proclaim themselves to have unfailing love, but who can find one who is faithful?”
Faithfulness is God’s nature. It’s an attribute of God. God is absolutely faithful. The Apostle Paul wrote about God’s faithfulness in every letter he wrote.
Paul says that God’s faithfulness had been with him all throughout his life experiences. Through all kinds of dangers and struggles, all kinds of hardships, God had never failed him. Now, Paul does admit that God had not always given him what he wanted when he wanted it, but God never failed him!
He writes in 2 Timothy 2:13, even “if we are faithless, God remains faithful!” Sometimes we have to have faith in the invisible work of God. Abraham never saw his descendants become “as numerous as the stars in the sky.” Moses never entered The Promised Land. But they remained faithful – they lived by faith and not by sight.
God is also faithful to be there for us when we are going through difficult times or when facing temptations. Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you except as is common to everyone. But God is faithful: God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear …”
It’s not always easy to be faithful to God; that’s why we need to stay connected to God as the source of this fruit of faithfulness in our lives. I love the Olympic image that comes from Hebrews 12:1 where it tells us that we are to run with perseverance, steadfastness, unwavering devotion, the race that is set before us. Paul continues to write, “I don’t count myself to have achieved my goal, but this one thing I do: Forgetting those things which are behind and straining forward to those which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ.”
As we stay connected to God we will grow in faithfulness. We will grow in faithfulness to our families of origin and our family of choice. Where they know they can count on us. That’s so important!
As we stay connected to God we will also grow in faithfulness to our community of faith or charitable organization. Some people, rather than asking, “How may I serve?” they ask, “What do you have for me today? What kind of bargain can I find? What are you going to do for me?”
Being faithful means finding a place of service and supporting it. Every person is gifted and has a role and a function.
You are a gift from God and a gift to the world. Find your place of service so you don’t have to leave the work to someone else. You’ll be blessed and fulfilled.
We’ve each been given, by God, talents and spiritual gifts and resources. The point here is that we use our talents for good, to the best of our ability, not bury them but use them and watch them multiply. And when we do this, we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
That same phrase was used at my mom’s funeral service and I want my life to be known as one who is faithful to God and others. My prayer is that as we stay connected to God, this fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness, will continue to grow in each one of us.
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