Unfortunately, faithfulness does not seem to be seen as important in our world and even in our churches today. Hallmark has a card that fits the mood of our time by saying, “I can’t promise you forever, but I can promise you today.” That’s about as deep a commitment as some are willing to make.
Many different studies that have compared the lives of Christians and those who don’t know the Lord have shown that there is relatively little difference. All too often what should be a natural expression of the Spirit’s work in our lives is sadly missing. Our lives as believers should be different because we have God living in us.
So, what is faithfulness? It’s the concept of living the truth of God’s message in our lives. It’s committing ourselves to Jesus Christ and then letting the reality of that faith permeate our lives on a daily basis. It’s being faithful to the life God has called us to. In a practical way it’s the quality of being true, trustworthy and reliable in our dealings with others. It’s the characteristic of doing what we know we should even when it’s not easy.
This is the trait that William Carey demonstrated when he asked his friend John Williams to pray for him after serving eight years in India with few visible results. He needed encouragement and asked, “Pray for us that we may be faithful to the end.” This type of attitude isn’t nearly as common as you might think, even among Christians, but it should be.
The truth is that faithfulness is remaining committed to doing right even when you feel like giving up. I love the way Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church has defined faithfulness.He writes:
“Faithfulness means you stick to a commitment after the shine wears off… Faithfulness means you keep saying no a thousand times if you must to the temptation of cutting a corner and taking the easy way out… Faithfulness means you refuse to jump ship even when the waves of adversity are splashing over the decks of your marriage, your relationship with your children… or your relationship with others. Faithfulness means you stay true to your relationship with Jesus Christ no matter what it costs you.”
That’s what it means to be faithful.
How would you define faithfulness? How are you living out the fruit of faithfulness?