I don’t want to give up on God. He has never given up on me so why should I give up on Him? I want to stay faithful.
Faithful. What is that word supposed to mean?
To stay faithful, you hang in there. You don’t give up. No leaving a cause in the middle of the cause. You stay dedicated and loyal to the very end.
- A spouse who stays in the marriage and doesn’t seek another even after discovering their partner isn’t as perfect as they thought.
- A political supporter who doesn’t go home in the middle of the campaign.
- A friend who stays around even when you go through the tough times and aren’t so nice to be around.
What does it mean to be faithful to God?
- I’m going to hold on to my faith in God even when I have no apparent reasons to keep believing that He is watching out for my best interest.
- I’ll keep trusting Him even when bad just got worse.
- I will continue to do what is right even when it’s a lot cheaper to do what I want to do.
I’ve learned something else about being faithful. Here it is.
Faithfulness has three distinct levels.
A private faith. I can keep my faithfulness to myself. I can do what I do: talk to God, read His word, and try to quietly live a holy life. People might notice my different lifestyle. Or not.
A public faith. We raise the boldness bar by putting our words of belief into actions, making choices and doing things that actually draw attention to our world view preference. Conversely, we put our actions into words by explaining our motives to those watching us. “I’m making this choice because I love Jesus and I want to do what He wants me to do.” We do what we do not because we are one more community do-gooder, but because we want to extend the kindness of Jesus to the person standing next to us.
We can hide our light under a bushel, set our light on a corner table, or put it in a high spot for all to notice. Yes, we might get kickback, but what appeals to me about this choice is that some people will do more than notice. I think that’s biblical.
Psalm 78:1-14 says,
“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
And that leads us to the highest level of faithfulness.
A persuasive faith. This level of faithfulness draws others. Not only do they notice; they want what you have. Our holy lives demonstrate in clear definable ways how to live a life of faith. They know how to follow Jesus and they do it, because they’ve seen us do it.
At the end of a life celebration service for a close friend, the pastor called the children and grandchildren of the man to the front while Steve Green’s wonderful song, “Find Us Faithful” played across the sound system. The words make me tear up every time.
“May those who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fires 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.
Asaph, the author of Psalm 78, would love it.
My faithfulness to God should be so strong, so apparent, and so appealing that others will not only notice but want to do it too. They will want to follow my example.
How do I do that?
- Have the courage to stand up for what I believe regardless of the consequences. Look at the example of the early apostles. It was their courage to withstand persecution that enticed others to follow the Lord.
- Talk about your faith to those under your influence. 2 Timothy 2:2 is one of my favorite verses because it describes this process so perfectly. Paul tells Timothy to pass on the gospel message to people who can be trusted to relay it on to others.
- Don’t give up. When people ask you why you tenaciously hang on to hope, you have a wide open door of opportunity to give the reason behind your display of faithfulness: “God hasn’t given up on me; why then, should I give up on Him?”
It’s not enough to obey the external rules of the Bible. We can’t stop at a luxurious indulgence in the riches of the grace and forgiveness Christ offers us. Why does God want us to be faithful to Him, live righteously, to and forgive as He has forgiven? This is the reason – so others will notice and want to do it too. They will see God’s love, grace, and forgiveness reenacted in your life in such a powerful way, they want to seek the Savior and follow in faithfulness.
The greatest desire I have for this earthly life is to stay faithful to God. I want to do it in a way that those who watch me will get the idea of how to do this Jesus-thing.
What about you?
How deep is your footprint? Are your steps of faith visible enough that others can see the imprint and can step into your footprints as they attempt to follow Jesus?
How do you plan to make your faithfulness to God more visible this week? Who can you influence with the love and power of God? Who is watching you to see whether you can hang in there for the long haul or whether you are going to give up on God when the going gets tough?
One early mild January morning, I left my graduate school apartment for a job interview. It was just starting to rain. When I boarded the city bus for my return to a midday class, snow swirled about me. By the time I reached the bus stop at the bottom of the hill that led up to the graduate school campus, snow was ten inches deep, obliterating the cement steps that curved in a serpentine line up the face of the hill. Halfway up, the weather turned into white-out conditions and I panicked. I could not see the top of the hill. I feared that I would wander around that hill until I lost consciousness and no one would find me until it was too late.
But every day, Ron Davis, professor of English, traversed that hill at lunchtime. I looked down at my feet. Having returned from lunch only ten minutes before, the Professor’s footprints marked a clear path to safety. By placing my feet one at a time in Professor Davis’s footprints, I knew how to get home – alive.
In a world where immorality and the deceptions of Satan swirl like heavy snow and thick fog, creating whiteout conditions that cause mankind to lose its way. Our faithfulness to Jesus leaves an imprint that others can follow to safety and home.
People are watching you. Let the fire of your devotion light their way.
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