Several years ago, I was speaking at a series of meetings in a French city. One of the nights as I walked towards the entry of the building where the meetings were held I met a young man.
“Could I talk with you pastor?” he asked.
We stepped to aside and he told me his story. It seems he had reconnected with an “old flame” on Facebook. This stirred forgotten feelings and he was torn between faithfulness to his wife and throwing more wood on this old fire.
“Do you have children?” They had a baby.
I’m usually easygoing and I try to be compassionate with those who come to talk about their problems. But, I’ll confess to a bit of irritation. I wanted to ask the young man, “Does stupidity run in your family? Did your mother rock you too close to the wall?” I restrained myself, but he wasn’t happy with my response anyway.
I think the two relationships that most accurately mirror our relationship with God should be Father/child and husband/wife. And he was contemplating throwing mud on both of these divine pictures.
God wants our word, our promises, to be rock solid because His promises are rock solid. Our Father can’t lie, can’t violate His promises. His word is sacred to Him and our promises should be sacred to us.
You know the worst of it? My young friend certainly isn’t the only one tempted to break our promises. We all have. I’ve never had any Facebook girlfriends (I emphasize this point in case Phyllis is reading this. And it’s true, too), but how many times have I been tempted to be unfaithful to God and to others who trust me?
An Extreme Example
I was a bit shocked when I saw that God punished Saul’s family because he hadn’t honored a promise that was made to the Gibeonites hundreds of years before. These weren’t even his people but descendants of people that Israel conquered when they entered the Promised Land.
Joshua had made a covenant with these people and the Lord expected his people to carry through with what they had promised. God zealously honors his promises, and he expects us to honor our promises.
Those who have the heart of God are also promise keepers.
When my dad died, a leader in his church who had known him for years said, if you look in the dictionary under the word “faithful,” your dad’s picture is there.
God is faithful to his promise to save us, to keep us, to fill us with his Spirit, to help us, to be with us, to never leave us, to be on our side. The Spirit of God expresses himself in our lives by the fruit of faithfulness. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives … faithfulness …” (Gal. 5:22, NLT)
We are faithful to our marriage promise, faithful to the body of believers in which God has placed us, faithful to God himself. God is faithful and the more we are filled with his Spirit the more we will be like him.
Perhaps the greatest example of faithfulness in the Bible is the alliance between God and Abraham. God promised Abraham a son by his wife Sarah. Yet 24 years passed and no son. Then at 99 years of age God renewed that promise. And the faithful God did what he said he would do. Abraham held a squalling little one in his arms.
Perhaps 17 years later, God tested Abraham’s faithfulness. He asked for that son. Did Abraham love the gift of God more than he loved God? Was he unfaithful to his first love? Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, believing that the faithful God would keep his promise by raising him from the ashes of sacrifice. In his heart the deed was done, even though God stopped him from killing Isaac.
The old man’s obedient faithfulness was an expression of God’s faithfulness reflected in the heart of Abraham. God looked into Abraham’s heart and saw his own image. When God looks into your heart, what does he see?
How does God‘s faithfulness develop in your heart?
–Walk with God and don’t quit. All of us fall down, but the faithful man asks forgiveness and gets up–over and over and over again. It’s not that our faithfulness never fails. It’s that faithfulness never quits.
–Look constantly each day, into the face of Jesus. Listen: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, NIV)
That Glory changes us. The world sees his glory when it looks at us. But there is a bonus. That word “contemplate” in the text can also be translated “reflect.” God’s glory changes the one who reflects it. Keep looking at Jesus. If you fall get up. Ask forgiveness. Look to Jesus, look to Jesus, look to Jesus.
–Faithfullness chooses God‘s best. Choose what you feel is God’s will, even when it isn’t in accord with your will. Jesus prayer, “not my will but yours be done,” must be the constant prayer of our heart. It may seem hard but there is a reward for faithfulness. When you stand before Him and hear, “Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant,” you’ll have all eternity to celebrate the fact that you chose to be faithful to Him and to your promises.
Until then we’re waiting for our faithful Lord to return, “Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True …” (Revelation 19:11, The Message). He will be faithful to keep that promise, too.
In what area are you tempted to be unfaithful? Take it to the Lord Jesus. He will help you.
“Emmitt Smith still holds the record for rushing attempts and total rushing yards (in the National Football League). In 4,409 times he was handed the ball and carried it he gained 18,355 yards. That’s almost 10.5 miles…4.16 yards at a time. Certainly, some runs were much longer and many even shorter, but it took him 4,409 attempts. That means one thing…he spent a lot of time getting up off the ground after someone knocked him down.” Roger Lewis