Meaningful Monday: What is Faithfulness?
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
There are several lessons to be learned from the Book of Ruth. Some might argue that any of those other lessons or underlying messages could be more important than another, but I believe they all lie intertwined with each other to prove the faithfulness of God to us, and that matters.
Today, let's learn what faithfulness means: what it looks like from a secular standpoint, and what it looks like from a Biblical standpoint..
I typed "faithfulness" into my search bar, and immediately a wikipedia blurb popped up at the top of the page. According to wikipedia, "faithfulness" is a "concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances."
Key words here: unfailingly - loyal - putting - consistent - practice - regardless
Can any one of us truly say we are faithful to anything or anyone according to that definition? Unfailingly and constantly? Regardless of how things can change in situations or relationships as life moves ever onward? Can we say that we are loyal to anyone? That we put our faith into practice? Our loyalty into practice?
Merriam-Webster has four definitions for "faithfulness" and three accompanying synonyms to further illustrate what these attributes of faithfulness look like. The first is "steadfast in affection or allegiance" ie. "loyal." And again that alluding to a permanency in loyalty - steadfast - meaning an ongoing relationship. The second definition is "firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty" ie. "conscientious." Here we see the word "adherence," which means to be stuck to or glued to, implying a sense of permanence as well. We also see this word "duty," which implies commitment to someone or something. The third definition is "given with strong assurance" ie. "binding." Again, implication of a promise and a sense of permanence. Finally, the last definition states this: "true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original," which would be used to define the copy of something to it's original and how closely the copy follows the original.
I really love the first three of these definitions of "faithfulness" because they tie so well into the attributes of our God.
Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us: "Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments."
What a promise! Our God keeps His promises and is faithful to show us mercy!
In Isaiah 55, we are called to an abundant life (an eternal life) through an everlasting covenant with our Lord with the promise that even those of us who turn away from our God, who are unfaithful to HIM, CAN return to His embrace and again enjoy His promise of mercy, never to be cut off. (Isaiah 55:6-7, 12-13)
Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us: "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness."
Another reminder of His promise throughout Scripture, that no matter how hard life appears, no matter how hopeless, through Him we will not be overwhelmed, because His compassion is new every morning! Every morning!
Hebrews 6:17-18 tells us clearly that we can put our trust and faith in God's promises, because He cannot lie and cannot betray our trust. In today's world, how comforting to be reminded that although we live with broken promises everyday, whether its from a loved one, a friend, a coworker, a public servant, a minister, or a politician, as Christians, our hope grounded in our GOD is one that He can never break or betray.
But now that we have an idea of what faithfulness looks like from our Father in Heaven, what does OUR faith look like? Remember that fourth definition of faith from Merriam-Webster? Basically, our faith should emulate, copy, mimic the faith of our God - the origin of faithfulness, the maker of promises, the holder of eternal commitment to us.
The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 gives us example after example of faithfulness to God clearly defining in the first verses what faith is and why we can be confident in it.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." Hebrews 11:1-3
I don't know about you, but I find these verses so incredibly powerful. According to Scripture, faith is a thing of substance. It is tangible. This means we can put it into action: the ACT of faithfulness. We can see evidence of it! We can use it to get to know our God, our world, our place in it even better.
So... Now that we know how the world defines "faithfulness," how the Bible defines it, and how our God IS the epitome, the perfect example of faithfulness, how will that affect our own actions as Christians in a world increasingly ignorant of loyalty, faithfulness, compassion, and mercy?
Can your commitment to God make a difference in your home? Can your loyalty and your faithfulness bring hope into your workplace? Can your compassion help someone in your community?
We are so blessed to be loved by a God that never gives up on us. His love and mercy never fail. No matter what the world tells us, no matter how hard life can appear to be, His faithfulness to us is reason to cling to hope and faith, and to share it with the world around us. Faith in anything comes from a place of loyalty and trust. Our faith in a God who cannot betray us should be easy, but to consider our inability to be loyal and trustworthy at all times makes His faithfulness to US miraculous!
*Thank you for visiting Great Is His Faithfulness and this Meaningful Monday series. If you have a story you would like to share that displays how the Lord has been active (faithful) in your life, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "Submission request" in the subject line. Your experience could be featured as part of this blog series to help bring hope to someone else.