19 Apr FAITHFULNESS – Steadfast trust in God displayed through obedience
The word “faithful/faithfulness” in Hebrew is the word emunah which is used throughout Scripture to communicate firmness, steadfastness, and fidelity. It comes from the root word aman which means to confirm, support, or believe (this is where we get our word Amen). The first time we encounter this word emunah is in the account of Abraham in Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” If we were to read this from the Orthodox Jewish Bible we would find, “And he [Abram] believed in Hashem; and He credited [emunah (faith)] to him as tzedakah (righteousness).”
Truly, Abraham is one of the heroes of our faith who often comes to mind when I consider faithfulness. Abraham believed God’s promises and maintained a steadfast commitment to the LORD, despite the fact that those promises required obedience, patience, and sacrifice. Abraham left his homeland to go to a place he had never seen, waited 25 years for Sarah to bear a son, and then offered Isaac back up to God when put to the test. Though he made mistakes along the way, his faithfulness was demonstrated through trusting obedience to God.
As I pondered the word “faithfulness” in terms of a Fruit of the Spirit – a characteristic that grows out of our submission to the Holy Spirit – I wondered what does this look like in the life of a believer today? Our stories may be different from Abraham’s, but each and every day God gives us the opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to Him through how we live our lives. The way we hold up under trial and tribulation; the way we respond to those who have wounded us; the way we spend our money and even our time; the tone we use toward those in our home who may have just stepped on our very last nerve – each seemingly minor detail of our life presents an opportunity to demonstrate to God and to the watching world where our hope is found. Is our hope in this world, which is passing away? Or is it in the eternal promises of God our Father, with Whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change (James 1:17)?
We best demonstrate faithfulness through obedience and steadfast commitment to the LORD. Jesus said in John 14, “Those who really love me are the ones who not only know my commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make myself known to them…All who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them. My Father and I will come to them and live with them. But anyone who does not love me does not obey my teaching. This teaching that you hear is not really mine. It is from my Father who sent me.”
Our western mindset is most influenced by the Greeks. When it comes to obedience, we tend to think, “First, I must understand why, then I will do.” However, obedience from a Hebraic perspective is the opposite: “First, I must do, then I will understand why.” Too often we try understand God, instead of trusting that His way is higher (Isaiah 55:8-9). Faithfulness is a steady, devoted trust that God is Who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. And that, I think, is the key…our faithfulness is a direct response to how faithful we perceive our Heavenly Father to be. Do we trust that His way is best? That He seeks our good? That His thoughts are higher than ours? When we fully rest in these truths and remind ourselves of them daily, our faithfulness will grow – more and more into the likeness of Him Who is ALWAYS faithful! (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Questions to ponder:
1. In what ways have you seen God’s faithfulness demonstrated in your own life?
2. What is your view of God’s faithfulness and how does this impact your faithfulness toward Him?
3. Are there any areas in your life where you feel the LORD is calling you toward greater faithfulness? What is one thing you can do to take a step in steadfast obedience to Him?