Back when I was choosing my One Word for 2017, I felt certain that faithfulness was going to be a big theme this year. Just as I was about to commit to it, I thought I felt a nudge to change my word to Abandon, but even so, it’s themes of God’s faithfulness and faithful obedience that keep cropping up in my devotions and Bible studies, and in my life in general. Clearly, faithfulness is something I’m supposed to pay attention to and work on this year.
But what, exactly, is faithfulness, and what does it mean to be faithful? The dictionary defines faithfulness as “the quality of being faithful; fidelity.” Okay, but then what does that mean, exactly? There are actually several dictionary definitions of the word “faithful”:
1. obsolete : full of faith
2. steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal – a faithful friend
3. firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious – a faithfulemployee
4. given with strong assurance : binding – a faithful promise
5. true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original – a faithful copy
Synonyms include the words loyal, true, dependable, trustworthy, steadfast, staunch, constant and resolute.
It says that the first definition is obsolete, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing obsolete about being full of faith when it comes to the kind of faithfulness God desires from us.
Apart from the dictionary definitions, here is what I know and understand about faithfulness:
It’s an attribute of God’s character. He is faithful, reliable, dependable, steadfast, unchanging, an unfailing keeper of His covenants and promises.
It’s a fruit of the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit dwells in me, then I am capable of exercising faithfulness and being faithful. Not just in my relationship with God and in my marriage and other earthly relationships, but in all areas of my life, every day, in every task I’m given.
Faithfulness is a quality that God desires from us. Biblical faithfulness means being obedient, following through and finishing what we start. It means faithfully and obediently carrying out our assignments, both the big, scary exciting ones and the mundane, boring, day-to-day ones.
Faithfulness is an act of faith. Our faithfulness requires believing and trusting in a faithful God.
I don’t know about you, sister friend, but I’m not always so good at exhibiting this particular spiritual fruit in my life. It seems to me that it’s easier to be faithful in the big things than in the little things. Things like being a faithful steward of my home or my money or my health. Faithful obedience tends to fly out the window when I’m too tired to clean or exercise or I’d rather splurge on some shiny thing I don’t need than save responsibly or I just really want that third (…or fourth or maybe even fifth) slice of pizza.
Thankfully, just like any fruit, this one can be cultivated, and how to do that is what I’m going to be looking at here in the coming weeks, with a more in-depth look at what the Bible says about faithfulness and some practical steps we can all take to grow this fruit.
What about you? Is this an area you need to work on, or have you got this whole faithfulness thing down (and if you do can you share some tips with the rest of us)? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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