My faithfulness cannot exist without God’s! In my own weakness, I want to be wishy-washy, and not hold firm to what I believe or what I have said. It’s so much easier to go with my whims and what I want at the time than to think about the commitments I’ve made or the people that depend on me. But that is not what He has called me to be, He has called me to be faithful because He is faithful. It is part of His character. If I am to grow in my relationship with Him, I need to grow in the areas that He deems important — the parts of Himself that He has revealed to us in His Word. When I was in Mexico with the high school group a few years ago, they talked about Ebeneezer stones, stones of remembrance to remind us, “Thus far, God has been with us.” Since God has been with us up to this point, He will continue to be with us, no matter what happens, because it is part of Who He is. I may not like the circumstances, but I know that He is with me, and I can rest in that assurance. It helps me to continue to be faithful to Him, in return.
I was reminded of a few verses (of hundreds! There are so many verses on faithfulness — God’s, our own, how we are blessed by being faithful, and on and on.) Particularly 3 scriptures came to mind: Isaiah 40:28-30, which says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall.” He is constant. He doesn’t change, grow tired, or do the things man does.” Psalm 119:90 says, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” So, not only is God faithful, but the things that He creates are faithful to Him. We, as believers, have the ability to be faithful only through the work of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 25, in the parable of the talents, those who were responsible with their master’s money and earned more money with it were praised, “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!” We are rewarded, here or in Heaven, for our faithfulness. Sometimes the reward is more responsibility, but we know we are sharing God’s happiness in the process.
When I made my vows to my husband close to 9 years ago, I took them, and still take them, very seriously. Divorce is not an option. We have even stated to each other, that it can never be part of our arsenal of threats when we are mad. As a child of divorce, I know how devastating it can be, even decades later. So, I will remain faithful to my husband. And we keep each other accountable, even in little things. I remind him how much I love and respect him. I pray for him throughout the day. I thank him for the work he does to provide for our family. We made a deal a long time ago that neither of us would ever take a ride with one person of the opposite sex, unless we ok it first with each other. It seems silly, but we do these things to guard our hearts against temptation. If we aren’t ever in a place where we can be tempted, it’s a lot harder, and makes being faithful that much easier.
For my kids, my biggest responsibility is to teach them about Jesus and how to live for Him. So, my faithfulness to them comes in the form of praying for them, being consistent with them in love and discipline, and (attempting to) be a good example of what it means to live for Jesus, and how awesome it can be, even if it’s not always fun or easy. I’m also really trying to be better at being faithful to have fun with them. They’re only little for so long — I want them to remember their childhood with fondness as well as the foundation for their relationship with Jesus.
Besides wallow? :) The best thing I can do is REMEMBER. Remember who He is. Remember what He has done. Remember who I am. Remember WHOSE I am. Remember that my circumstances don’t define me. Remember that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) When I take my eyes off myself and put them rightly back on Jesus, it all falls back into place.
I think difficulties lead me toward faithfulness because I know I can’t do it on my own. I have to rely on God and His faithfulness and the promises of the Bible. They tend to lead me more to prayer, more to scripture, and more to seek counsel from people I trust. I think successes can lead me to be more faithful, but it can be tricky. Sometimes, a success will remind me of how easy it is when I remain steadfast, and the good that can come from it, so I will want to be faithful in the future. But, sometimes, a success will make me arrogant and think I’m awesome all by myself, which is the exact opposite response to the one I should have. So, I really have to be reminded that God, in HIS faithfulness, allowed me to have this success.
I think our society doesn’t find much worth in faithfulness anymore. Maybe it’s boring? Old-fashioned? I think we have become so hedonistic, that the idea of making commitments to anything is beyond what we should be required of us. How hard is it to RSVP to something and commit to going? But people just don’t do it anymore. Something better or more exciting, or flashier may come along, and they want to be free for whatever the next best thing is. Those people can’t be counted on, they seem flaky, or just too busy. But aren’t we all grateful for the people that do RSVP? That do say what they mean and then stick to it? That don’t change with the tides? They are so secure and stable, we can count on them. Of course, sometimes things come up that make us change plans, it’s part of being human, it’s even part of being a good friend at times. (It’s good to give up frivolous things in order to be there for a hurting friend, for example.) Still, even though we, as a culture, don’t put much stock in faithfulness, I think individually we really appreciate it. I think non-Christians can see the benefit of it, and it’s just another one of the ways God infuses Himself into our hearts, sometimes without us knowing it. True faithfulness only comes through His work in our lives, and I think it’s evident. It may not be glamorous, but saying something and sticking to it can be a great way to show Jesus to the world.