Every year during football season Lucy promises to hold the ball. Charlie Brown makes her pledge not to move it, reminding her that she has tricked him many times. She vows, “Never again.” Naive as ever, Charlie charges toward the ball. She pulls it away. He wipes out. When he protests, she chides him for believing in the human race.
Life teaches people to distrust. When divorce took a ten-year old boy from his mom, she promised often she’d be by. He finally learned not to expect her. When he is told later in life to trust in God, he says, “Prove it!” Cynicism comes along as a way of coping.
It’s not a new problem. Solomon asked, “A faithful man who can find?” (Prov.20:6). All the more reason to look at the unchanging faithfulness of the Lord.
GOD IS FAITHFUL. It is the way he is. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
He is faithful to his word. The Bible testifies that “the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised” (Genesis 21:1). She laughed at the idea, but He came through anyway. “Let God be true, though every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
He is faithful in his love. Moses said, “Know therefore that the Lord your God…is a faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations…” (Deut. 7:9). That is a lot of love!
He is faithful to finish. I have books I’ve not finished, projects I’ve only started, and so do you. Not God. Paul wrote his Philippian friends, “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians l:6). Call him alpha and omega.
He is faithful to forgive. God’s word promises: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John l:9).
He is faithful to protect.. St. Paul told Christians, “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (II Thess. 3:3). What great news!
And what does God’s faithfulness call us to?
- l) Many of us have been let down by family and friends. We wonder, “Who can I trust?” The answer: You can trust God. He will never let you down. That is why the Bible says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews l0:23). Sarah “considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Heb. 11:11).
2) Faithfulness. God calls us to share his character. Paul reminds us that “it is required that those who have been give a trust must prove faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). This is not short-term loyalty but obedience to the ultimate: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:l0). Jesus said that “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke l6:l0). Faithfulness does not start with grandiose visions but with paying the bills, returning what we borrowed, cleaning the kitchen when no one knows who messed it up, being kind to people we suspect may not like us.
How does it come about? Our faithfulness grows as we trust in a faithful God. Faith breeds faithfulness. It comes less by the grit of the teeth than surrender of the heart. The more we are looking to a faithful God, the more we will walk in his ways. We become what we behold. The Spirit produces the fruit, and he can work faithfulness in you. Day and night God is proving his faithfulness to you in many more ways than you can see. Let us proclaim with Jeremiah, “Great is thy faithfulness.” And as we do, we grow in faithfulness.