Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Faithfulness: Proven by Time

This is part III of my "Faithfulness" blogs. So far we've seen that:

  • Being faithful is being consistent--consistently loyal to the Father. 
  • Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and of God Himself.
  • God does not ignore the enemy's accusations, but addresses them.
  • He addresses them by providing evidence--The blood of the lamb and our testimony, which is recorded in a written record.
  • Through the blood of Jesus our sins are blotted out and we are made righteous.
  • Through the testimony of our faithfulness our loyalty to God is evident, proving that our faith in Jesus Christ really has changed our hearts making us righteous.
  • God has both the desire and the means to express His goodness towards us.
  • We are protected by His power and the strength of His kingdom.
  • Faithfulness is remaining true to Him until the end.
  • Through faithfulness we have access into His eternal kingdom and promises.
  • Satan's accusation of Job tested his faithfulness.
  • When our faithfulness is proven, we have gained access to spiritual power to carry out His desires in our lives and in the earth.
  • Being consistent to remain filled with His Spirit, cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, will cause us to be aligned with the Father in our heart, and release His Word with power.

Understanding the above points will help in understanding that faithfulness really is the proof of our faith. I think we've done a disservice to the body of Christ with some of the teaching that has gone on about faith. I did the same thing when I first heard the "faith" message. I was so excited to hear that I could "have what I say" that I ran with it as hard and fast as I could. I drove myself into the ground, ended up bankrupt, divorced, and eventually backslid for a period of time. It wasn't pretty.

If not presented properly, the "faith" message may give the idea that because we are "believing God" for something to happen, He is required to give us what we ask, and while it doesn't happen we begin to accuse Him. Anytime we find ourselves accusing God during our difficulties, we need to realize we are aligning ourselves with His enemy and ours--the accuser himself. Is "faith" wrong? No, of course not, but we may need to adjust our definition of faith a bit. If we realize that faith is expressed in faithfulness then we will clear up a lot of misunderstanding.

We see this more clearly in the following Scriptures.

Faith and Patience
"...so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:12
Patience requires a period of time. Being patient for five seconds isn't really patience. Someone needs to remain patient for a period of time before you can call them patient. So we will need to remain in faith and patience for a period of time in order to inherit the promises of God. This means that we remain faithful for a period of time. We keep our trust in the Lord for a period of time--until the end. We remain faithful, consistently loyal, to Him. We don't begin to accuse Him, whine, lose courage, lose hope etc.

Just as we can't prove patience without time, we can't prove faith, or faithfulness, without time either. Being faithful for five seconds doesn't prove a person is faithful. Making a profession of faith once with no life change doesn't prove a person's faith either. A period of time is required in order for faith, or faithfulness to be proven. How much time? Until the end. When is the end? Well, that's up to God to decide. So when we say through faith and patience we inherit the promises, we could really say, through faithfulness we inherit the promises of God.

Endurance and Faithfulness
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
Endurance is the ability to hold up under tough times. This is similar to faithfulness. Faithfulness means you hold true in your allegiance to someone consistently and at all times--good or bad. Once again, this involves a time period. The testing of our faith goes on over a period of time and it produces the ability for us to hold true to the Lord during tough times. We remain faithful to the Lord until the end, in good times and bad. We remain loyal Him no matter what. We don't begin to accuse Him or question His judgement. This is a test of our faithfulness, and the outward evidence of our faith.

The Substance of our Faith

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval." Hebrews 11:1-2
You could say that faithfulness is the assurance and conviction that you will continue your trust in the Lord, remaining true to His heart, His Word, and His Spirit, even when what you hope for is not seen. Faithfulness is the part that you see. Not only does it become a character trait inside your heart, it is the substance--the tangible part--of your faith. It is seen as loyalty and courage in the face of whatever might challenge the goodness and power of God. It is as fiercely loyal as Job who said, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." Job 13:15.

Can you see how helpful it is to look at your faith as faithfulness, a character trait, rather than as something you possess like money used to purchase something? It's important to understand this so you don't become discouraged over time, you will endure to the end, and your faith will be proven genuine. Time is necessary to prove the existence of your faith. Faith that endures over a period of time is faithfulness.

Time is a gift from God. He placed us in this realm of time to prove our faithfulness to Him. When we have faith in God, we don't just make an occasional statement that we believe in Him, we prove it by our heart and our choices. We have an opportunity to choose Him and His ways, faithfully, over the course of our lives. Are we perfect? No. But that doesn't mean we don't endeavor to live faithful lives to Him. Our faithfulness to Him proves our faith in Him. Our faithfulness over the days, months, and years of our lives, is evidence of our faith in Him.

Don't give up! He has faith in you. He has faith that the finished work of Jesus was enough to change your heart enabling you to receive His Spirit and live a faithful, overcoming life. Nothing the enemy throws at you can shake your faithfulness to the Lord. Let your faithfulness rise to meet His faith and bring the eternal realm of His glory and power into your life today!

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