Monday, February 4, 2013

Faithfulness

As I faced off with the fruits of the Spirit, it was obvious where I needed to begin.  Things like kindness and self-control jumped out as obvious places where the Spirit had been working or where perhaps I was thwarting His work.  When I took a hard look at faithfulness though, I was boggled.
 
Faithfulness immediately brought to mind simple loyalty, for example faithfulness to a spouse.  But when I tried to understand how the Spirit grows faithfulness to my husband over time I grew increasingly confused.  Adultery is a pretty cut and dried moral issue. 

I turned to my favorite concordance for some help.  It's about 5'9 and cute as a button and otherwise known as my husband.  He suggested I think more about Jesus' obedience and faithfulness as a son. 

Turning to Hebrews I found a comparison between Jesus and Moses.  Both of them were law-givers and covenant makers.  However, Moses was faithful as a servant and Jesus as a son over the house of God.  Moses was a responsible leader of God's people, a hired-man but a good one.  His faithfulness came at the cost of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.   Jesus, the son and heir, was also a faithful to his responsibilities to us, the house of God.  His faithfulness came at the price of the cross. 

 
Like Moses we are slaves in God's house.  In the parable of the talents the master reviews each servant's work. "His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21). The servants who were responsible with the money they had been given were given more authority. 

This runs a close parallel to my ordinary life.  I have been given resources to manage.  My children, my stuff, my energy, my job, my marriage and my time are not mine.  The idea of faithfulness implies that I am a steward, a managing servant.  I am faithful to God when I use the gifts He gave me in His service. Moreover, the parable seems to indicate that He will bless me with more opportunity if I use the ones He has given me well. 

If I treated my stuff as God's instead of my own, I'd be more generous.  If I remembered my time is not mine, I'd waste less time. If I thought of my marriage as a trust from God to be stewarded for Him, I can't imagine what my already good relationship with my husband would look like.  The day I was baptized, I handed myself to God as His slave.(Romans 6:16)  In essence I promised Him the whole of my life.  Faithfulness means keeping that promise.

Like Jesus we are also sons in God's house.  He purposed to give his life for the redemption of the household of God, and despite his fear and dread he did it.  Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered. Jesus was obedient at the cost of His life.

The parallel should be obvious.  We are faithful when we obey God.   But to us, Jesus seems so unreasonably good.  He keeps His word, He fulfills the plan, long after the rest of us would have thrown in the towel.  I am liable to back out if I get the sniffles.  Stress me to the point where I am literally sweating blood? No way!  

Jesus keeps His word because his character is the same as God's.  Remember how Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness? (Romans 4:3) Have you ever asked your self what it was that he believed? It was simply that God would fulfill the word He had spoken. Abraham believed in the power and faithfulness of God.  Jesus embodies that faithfulness.  

With the Spirit of God dwelling inside of us, we should be becoming more like God.  That means turning my whole life over to God, managing it as a steward not as an owner.  It means imitating my Savior by obeying in the most difficult of circumstances because that is simply what I promised to do.  Faithfulness is not so cut and dried as I originally imagined.  I've got a long way to go!


Helene
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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