Thinking about the word “faithfulness.” A faithful person is trustworthy and reliable. Faithfulness is commitment to someone or something. Faithfulness refers to this quality of being faithful and loyal. A patriotic person is full of faithfulness to their country. Someone who works at one company for decades has faithfulness to that company.
So to be faithful is to be reliable, steadfast and unwavering, and the Bible speaks of this type of faithfulness in four ways: as an attribute of God; as a positive characteristic of some men; as a characteristic that many men lack; and as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Some people make faithfulness a hallmark of their human relationships, but the faithfulness that matters most is the faithfulness we show towards Him.
As we grow more faithful in one area of our life, that faithfulness will carry over into other areas. Faithfulness toward God begins with faithfulness toward family, faithfulness on our job, and faithfulness in financial dealings. We can’t wait to show our faithfulness until someone trusts us with something big. We must be faithful now with whatever has already been entrusted to us.
Scripture speaks often of God’s faithfulness. Over and over we learn that when God says He will do something, He does it (even when it seems impossible). When He says something will happen, it happens. This is true for the past, the present and the future. If this were not the case—if God were unfaithful even once—He would not be God, and we could not rely on any of His promises. But as it is, “Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave” (1 Kings 8:56).
God is eternally reliable, steadfast, and unwavering because faithfulness is one of His inherent attributes. God does not have to work at being faithful; He is faithful. Faithfulness is an essential part of who He is (Psalm 89:8; Hebrews 13:8). In His faithfulness, God protects us from evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3), sets limits on our temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13), forgives us of sin (1 John 1:9), and sanctifies us (1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 1:6).
Jesus Christ is the supreme example of faithfulness. He always did God’s will and spoke God’s words. He had only one desire, “…not my will, but thine, be done.(Luke 22:42) When a person walks consistently with God, in humble service to Him, he or she can be called “faithful.” Notice, also, that faithfulness is associated with fearing (respecting, obeying and in revering) God. The better we truly know Jesus, the more we will want to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1). But faithfulness, even in small matters, is known to God and rewarded in the end (Luke 19:17). Each true believer does have the potential to behave as Jesus would behave because each Christian has within him God’s holy spirit. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)
So how do we become faithful? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.” It’s one of the nine fruits: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), and self-control. When the Holy Spirit lives in our lives, we will demonstrate faithfulness.
How do you know when you’re filled with the Spirit? What is the test? Some kind of emotional experience? Not necessarily. You can have an emotional experience and not be filled with the Spirit. What is the test? The fruit is the test. How do I demonstrate that I’m filled with the Spirit? I demonstrate it when I’m faithful to the responsibilities that God has given me: My family, home, job, etc…)
The Bible also warns us of the consequences of unfaithfulness. These warnings are necessary because, as an old hymn says, we are “prone to wander . . . prone to leave the God I love.” Our hearts are too often found to waver, despite our best intentions (Proverbs 20:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 26:75).
Faithfulness affects every relationship we have. The Bible says it is a gift from God. When we receive Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells us and brings the blessings of love, joy, peace and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22). The fullness of these blessings depends on walking with God and yielding to His Spirit. We should be faithful to read and abide by God’s Word and to seek the Lord in prayer (Psalm 1:1-2; Ephesians 6:18).
The Old Testament taught that “the just will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4), and that truth is quoted, amplified and illuminated three times in the New Testament. We obtain that faith, and our faithfulness, by the grace (undeserved favor) of God. He is faithful to His children, and by His grace we will one day hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23).
So let’s strive to become a man or woman whom God can trust to carry out His instructions. Serve God now with all your heart in single-minded obedience. Don’t wait for life’s big challenges before learning faithfulness. Start now, with life’s littlest details, and learn faithfulness so that you will be ready for the greater tests and trials to come.