Consider faithfulness. What does it really mean and how should it manifest itself in the life of a Christian? To understand faithfulness, we must first understand its root word, faith.
What is faith?
In today’s society, especially in Christian circles, we use the term faith to indicate the act of being “a Christian.” We use such phrases as: “be true to the faith,” “stand firm in the faith,” and “the Faith of our fathers.” Of course, these are all referring to having faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. However, they do not give us any indication as to what the word “faith” means. Fortunately, the Bible does! The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Now faith issubstance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)).
We cannot see Jesus today in the flesh. We cannot hear His voice, and we cannot sit at His feet and learn from His teaching. We certainly feel His presence in our daily lives and see the results of His care for us in many ways. Faith then is the confidence that we have that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that one day we will be spending eternity with Him. Faithfulness then is the process of acting on that confidence and living our lives in such a way as to show that our confidence in Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our life.
A person who has Christian joy in his/her life demonstrates faithfulness to the church, to daily prayer, to a study of the Word, and to worship.
Ephesians 5:23 tells us that the church is the body of Christ. The same verse also tells us that Christ is the head of the church. Of course, the church is not a building, nor is it a single brotherhood or denomination, but rather the collection of all the souls who are true followers of Jesus Christ. When we say that someone who calls himself/herself a Christian should be faithful to the church, we mean that the individual should be faithful to all of the brothers and sisters who are faithful followers of Jesus. This can manifest itself in many ways, such as providing for widows and the poor, giving encouragement to those who are hurting, praying for the sick, and so forth. In a practical manner, belonging to a local church assembly provides a real opportunity to live out the larger principle.
First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. I doubt seriously that the Apostle Paul was telling us here that we should pray every moment of our waking lives. It seems much more reasonable that his teaching here is that we have a regular routine of prayer, probably on a daily basis. I think it is also reasonable that what Paul was telling us is that we should do all things prayerfully. Our lives are filled with decisions. Many of these have a significant impact on our lives. When we are preparing to make a decision that is going to have a major impact on our family and our lives, we should make sure that the decision is made in prayer.
In his writings, Timothy tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)). In this passage I would like to emphasize the word righteousness – or a right standing with God. I am convinced that no one on this earth understands all that God’s Word has to teach us. Even the most learned among us still have much to gain from reading the Scriptures on a regular basis. One of the most helpful things that we can do is to have a Bible reading plan. And, with all of the resources that are available to us today, this is not a difficult thing to do.
The final aspect of faithfulness that I would like to highlight in this short article is that of worship. What is worship? Worship is giving honor and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I would imagine that many people today equate worship with going to church. As a matter of fact, what happens in a “church building” on a typical Sunday morning is often referred to as a worship service. Attending worship services is an important part of our Christian lives for many reasons. But worship is much more than attending a church service once a week. I think that the Apostle Paul said it best, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 (KJV)).
As I conclude this article, I would like to caution my readers. Faithfulness is not a list of items that are to be checked off such as a grocery list. And it is not a “bucket list” that one should make sure is accomplished before the final breath is drawn. Faithfulness is a way of life! Live a faithful life. Make sure you are faithful to the church (the body of Christ), daily prayer, studying God’s Word in a regular and meaningful way, and worshiping God in spirit and in truth for all the days of your life. If we, as Christians, can do this, then we are assured of hearing those words from of our Master, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
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