A man is walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he's going. Suddenly he slips over the edge of a cliff. As he falls, he grabs a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he can't hang on long, he prays, “Is there anybody up there?” A voice from heaven says, “Yes, I'm here!” The man responds, “Who's that?” The voice replies, “The Lord!” The man then begs, “Lord, help me!” The voice replies, “Do you trust me?” The man says fearfully, “I trust you completely, Lord.” The voice then says, “Good, Let go of the branch.” The man says, “What?” The voice says, “You heard Me, I said let go of the branch.” There was a long pause, and then the man says, “Is anybody else up there?” Is that how we view our relationship with God? Oh, we can trust Him for salvation and some of the little things of life, but when we must have faith, we tend to walk by sight, not by faith.
One of the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. It is not the expression of personal faith in Christ, but trustworthiness in our walk before the Lord. The Greek word refers to dependable, reliable, loyal, punctual, and trustworthy. Paul noted in I Cor 4:1 & 2, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (faithful).” Pure and simple, faithfulness is keeping your word. It is doing what you said you would do. When you make an oath, vow, commitment, or promise you are making a pledge to do something specified-you are giving assurances of the performance of a specified action. The logical outcome of this: either you are a commitment keeper or a commitment breaker. As a believer in Jesus Christ, one of the greatest characteristics of our life is faithfulness, especially in an unfaithful world.
Three qualities to faithfulness: First, there is integrity: commitments, promises, and vows are only as dependable as the individuals who make them. Robert Burns said this, "A mind that is conscious of its integrity scorns to say more than it means to perform." No person can build a reputation on what he's going to do tomorrow. Second, there is fidelity; an unfailing fulfillment to one's duties. What makes marriage more than a contract or passion spilling over? What makes a family more than people living under one roof? It is people being faithful to one another. God is calling us to fidelity in our marriage, fidelity in our family, and fidelity to our friends. It is making good on the promises made! Third, it is loyalty. It is being there for your family and friends. Promises and commitments may get friends, but it is performance that keeps them. Unfortunately, our relationships are built like politicians who spend half their time making promises and the other half making excuses. God desires us to be different: to be loyal to our word!
After the tragic bombing of a marine base in Beirut in October 1983, one young soldier was an inspiration to Americans back home. He had been critically wounded in the explosion of the revamped hotel where he and his fellow marines had been staying. Many of his buddies had been killed. He was covered with bandages and tubes attached to his body. He could not speak. Yet, when he was visited by General Paul Kelly, Commandant of the Marine Corp, he indicated that he wanted to write something. Painfully, he wrote the words simper fi, a shortened form of the U.S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis, which means, “Always Faithful.”
The Christian life is a life of faith. A weak faith is weakened by predicaments, whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them. George Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest said this about the affect of faith. "Faith is not something one "loses," we merely cease to shape our lives by it." Is your faith shaping your attitudes and actions? Are we faithful to our spouse, children, and friends? Are we faithful to our job and employer? Are we faithful to our church? Are we faithful to our God? We are called to be faithful stewards of what God has given us. Therefore, allow your faith to shape your life, and be faithful in everything you do!
-Pastor Mike Kotrla