faith

Being Faithful in an Unfaithful World

I’m so sad.

As I researched to prepare for this article about the Holy Spirit Fruit of faithfulness,  I discovered that another celebrity pastor was accused of sexual misconduct.

Another.

Just search Google for “faithfulness articles” and you can read it too. It’s an article in Christianity Today about pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church.

Faithfulness is an attribute of the Spirit for all believers to possess. Surely men like Bill Hybels who have brought so many people to Jesus should be filled with this characteristic. Shouldn’t they be immune to unfaithfulness?

Unfortunately, statistics show we’re never immune. Though the Fruit of the Spirit is available to us, we must always be open and yielded to Him. Ed Stetzer said it well in his article, The Moral of Moral Failing: 

We are all sinners in need of God’s grace, and the grace of others. As a Christian leader, I am always aware of the burden on me to hold to standards that sometimes seem unattainable. Yet, I have many flaws and hurt others in ways I likely don’t know. We all do.

This is why we all need Jesus—whether we are in positions of leadership or not. But, needing Jesus is more than some passive idea of his presence. It means an intentional process of sanctification. And one that addresses some of these issues that keep coming to the surface.

Throw No Stones

As I read the article about Hybels, I wanted to throw stones, but that didn’t last long. I knew that rather than perfecting my aim, I needed to get on my knees, because Jesus brought two stories to mind.

One was the story of the woman caught in adultery who’d been pulled out of her lover’s bed to be judged by Jesus and the ruling synagogue counsel. Most of you know the story. When the teachers asked Jesus what should be done to this woman he bent down and began to write in the dirt. (The Law specified the guilty woman and man to be stoned.)

Some believe he was writing the ten commandments. He could’ve been. Maybe he was writing the specific sins of the men standing around him. We don’t know, but we do know Jesus challenged, “He who has no sin, cast the first stone.”

Each man, one by one began to leave.

The accused woman opened one eye to prepare for the impaling, but it didn’t come. She opened her second eye to see only Jesus.

Jesus, the one who could’ve thrown the first stone, did not, stood there alone. He simply told her to go and leave her life of sin.

A God of Second Chances

The other biblical story God reminded me of was the narrative of David and Bathsheba. Do you know this one? It’s this crazy story of how one of God’s favorite people (David) not only committed adultery with one of his closest commander’s wives, he covered up his sin by having her husband murdered.

In time, God revealed through Nathan that He knew what David had done. King David sorrowfully repented, knowing that the baby, a son, who was born out of this sinful relationship would die. David mourned and fasted and returned back to God.

Before we throw the first stone, we must remember David. God gave him a second chance just as he gave the adulterous woman one too.

His faithfulness weaves throughout Genesis to Revelation, the story of grace, second and third chances, forgiveness, and merciful kindness bound by a covenant of love culminated on the Cross. This faithfulness is made tangible to us as His Spirit takes over ours in every area we allow.

As we yield to Him, we too will experience the quality of faithfulness in our lives.

  • Faithfulness in our relationships.
  • Faithfulness in our commitments.
  • Faithfulness in our purpose.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness . . . (Gal. 5:22).

Faithfulness has been translated from the word Pistis which means faith, trust, and faithfulness. The core of this word is trust. A person filled with the fruit of faithfulness is one who trusts God’s goodness, and she is one who can be trusted. A faithful person is a loyal person. Marriage is a great illustration of faithfulness, but this Fruit of the Spirit affects all areas of our lives including our faithfulness to hold onto faith when we don’t understand our broken circumstances. Listen to these words etched out of pain and suffering from one of God’s faithful. Surely the Spirit helped her write these words:

 I wish I could tell you that I “handled” my grief well. I wish I could tell you that I was “strong enough”.

I can’t.

I didn’t.

I wasn’t.

But I hung on desperately.

And maybe that’s what faithfulness looks like sometimes. Resiliently hanging on, even when your whole life feels like it’s falling apart. Read Renee’s story of heartbreak and joy here. 

Feed On Faithfulness

There will be days when it doesn’t look like God is faithful. There will be days when we will not want to be faithful ourselves. But Psalm 37: 3-7 holds a promise to those yielded to faithfulness and shows us what that looks like.

“Trust in Adonai, and do good; settle in the land, and feed on faithfulness. Then you will delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” (Complete Jewish Bible)

Some translations say, “Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Some say, “Cultivate faithfulness.”

What does this mean? How do we “feed on faithfulness” or “cultivate” it?

This is how. We recognize it.

We hold onto the good things God is doing. We feed off the good things we see as we do “good” things (His instruction for living) and truly live where we are–not in the past or the future, but today in this town with these people, in this job with this boss, in this church with these leaders, in this marriage in this season with crying babies or disrespectful teenagers, or in this tough chapter fighting cancer. We live because He is faithful.

Come study the Fruit of the Spirit of Faithfulness with me.

Bite of Bread Bible Reading Plan

 

 

Preview of this week’s nourishment and the Printable Prompts

Monday: Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

  • Write down in your journal the ways God has been faithful in your life and feed on these memories. If you’re in a really difficult situation, and the good memories can’t come, write a prayer asking God to help you remember.

Tuesday: 2 John 1:9: Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

  • How do we see this playing out in our world? What must we teach?

Wednesday: 2 Timothy 2:13: if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

  • I love this scripture. Our faith does not stop Jesus from being Jesus, our faithful Savior. Whether we believe or not, God’s plans remain. Can you think of a time in your life when God kept pursuing you even when you no longer believed? (He did for me!)

Thursday: Matthew 24:35: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

  • Hallelujah! His Word is Eternal! Why is this important?  Write down your favorite scripture and memorize it!

Friday: Psalm 91:4: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

  • Do you run from God when life gets bad or run to him? Why can we run to him? Where are we protected?

Saturday: 1 Thessalonians 5:24: The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

  • Read the context of this verse (the verses around it). What will Jesus do?

Sunday: Luke 16:10-12: “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. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

  • Why is it important to be faithful with what we have?

Get the Printable on Faithfulness. 

Join Our Fun!

I’m looking forward to studying faithfulness with you. Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

 

Digging Deep in Faithfulness,

 

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

P.S.S. This is part of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the articles on love, joy, peace, patience , kindness,  and goodness if you missed them!

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3 thoughts on “Being Faithful in an Unfaithful World

  1. I will ponder this question today. Thank you Sis. This is a good word.
    How do we “feed on faithfulness” or “cultivate” it?

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