"I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful."
Have you ever walked the rugged path of unfaithfulness in a relationship? In a heartbeat, it can unravel a union that took years to build. I know. I've been there. Thankfully, that relationship ended before lifelong vows were made.
My husband and I have been married over twenty-five years. I know from experience it takes more than love to ride the rough storms of life together. Faithfulness is key. But when I am painfully honest, I have to ask myself the tough questions. Am I completely loyal to my husband when it comes to my words? What about my thoughts? How about the way I manage our money and my time? Aren't these a part of the whole "faithful" package?
Up until a week ago, I thought this message would be a breeze to write. But as I began to study the fruit of faithfulness, I started to realize there is so much more to it than we see within the context of marriage. And the more I pressed into it, the more I realized how short I fall.
"Faithfulness" is a big word with multiple layers that grow more complex as you peel them away. I am no expert. I have only begun the process. But I happily and humbly share what I am learning along the way.
I'll start with the first layer I found as I cut into the subject. "Faithful", full of faith, leaves me breathless. Am I really "full of faith"? This kind of faith goes far beyond believing. It is the unwaivering assurance of who God is and what He says. This kind of faith doesn't need to have all the answers. It knows some will remain a mystery, because, unless you are God, faith can't know everything. It wouldn't be faith; it would simply be knowledge.
The "faith-ful" don't have to have their way. Their faith is in the One who knows what is best at all times, in all circumstances. Their self-will loses its willpower, as they look to God's will in everything.
For those who are full of faith, there is an absence of fear. The two cannot coexist. There simply isn't room for both. A little faith and a little fear can cohabitate quite nicely. But when you are filled up by faith, fear sees the full house and moves on.
A life lived faithfully is written all over the actions of the faithful heart. Daily, hourly, moment by moment, a person full of faith is not full of himself. There is freedom from self to put God and others first. Faithfulness reflects the very image of God, because the Lord is always and completely faithful.
As I meditate on this fruit and reflect back on my grandmother's life, I find myself trying to make the pieces fit. My grandma didn't talk much abour her beliefs. At times she admitted to having doubts and unanswered questions. But I saw more faithfulness in how she lived her daily life than I do in many who talk openly about their own "faith".
One thing is clear. I cannot produce this fruit on my own. It takes the hand of my Master Gardener to make anything of value grow. While he weeds and prunes and plants and fertilizes, I learn to put my faith in Him. And in doing so, the fruit of faithfulness begins to slowly sprout up and grow.
A faithful life ~ a life lived in faith and bearing the good fruits it produces, is a holy existence. And though it's a far cry from my own, it's the life I want.
"Faith puts the best construction on every situation and looks for the silver edge on every dark cloud. It searches for any hint of honor and dignity. It believes that with God, all things are possible. It pushes on, perseveres, remains loyal in spite of reverses and disappointments. Such faith is steadfast in spite of shaking experiences and has its gaze fastened upon Him who is faithful, not upon the chaos and confusion of circumstances around us. It is in the atmosphere of this confidence in Christ that the faithful person (a person full of faith) quietly carries on living in serenity, strength, and stability. He is not shaken by the stormy events or unpredictable behavior of others around him. Gently, calmly, without fanfare he simply gives and gives and gives himself to God and others."
~W. Phillip Keller