Todd Bailey Ministries

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Faithfulness (Part 1)

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Turn on any news program, and you will find more than enough evidence that we are living in the last days.  Natural disasters, wars, rumors of wars, mockers, scoffers and overall wickedness are rampant.  Jesus told us that we would not know the hour or day of his eminent return, but that we would know the signs of the times.

In 2nd Timothy, the apostle Paul describes the spirit of the world in the last days. 

2nd Timothy 3:1-5 (New Life Version)

1 You must understand that in the last days there will come times of much trouble. 2 People will love themselves and money. They will have pride and tell of all the things they have done. They will speak against God. Children and young people will not obey their parents. People will not be thankful and they will not be holy. 3 They will not love each other. No one can get along with them. They will tell lies about others. They will not be able to keep from doing things they know they should not do. They will be wild and want to beat and hurt those who are good. 4 They will not stay true to their friends. They will act without thinking. They will think too much of themselves. They will love fun instead of loving God. 5 They will do things to make it look as if they are Christians. But they will not receive the power that is for a Christian.

This characterization of people in the last days is in direct opposition to the born-again believer described in Galatians 5:22-23:

Galatians 5:22-23 (New Living Translation)

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

The Holy Spirit manifests this fruit when we allow Him to fully control our lives.  The fruit of the Spirit is the dividing line between the faithful and the faithless.  A faithful man is God-centered.  A faithless man is self-centered. 

In today’s world, many appear to esteem celebrity, notoriety and fame as valued character traits.  However, ask anyone what they desire in a relationship, and you’ll find faithfulness high on the list.  President Theodore Roosevelt recognized this when he said, “It is better to be faithful than famous.”

The word faithful [i] is defined as:

(1)  Full of faith, or having faith; disposed to believe, especially in the declarations and promises of God.

(2)  Firm in adherence to promises, oaths, contracts, treaties, or other engagements.

(3)  True and constant in affection or allegiance to a person to whom one is bound by a vow, by ties of love, gratitude, or honor, as to a husband, a prince, a friend; firm in the observance of duty; loyal; of true fidelity; as, a faithful husband or servant.

(4)  Worthy of confidence and belief; conformable to truth or fact; exact; accurate; as, a faithful narrative or representation.

Throughout the Bible, faithfulness eclipses fame as the mark of greatness.  There are numerous examples in the Bible of those who were faithful. 

Ultimately, God is our highest example of faithfulness.  In fact, He is faithfulness!  God remains faithful to us even if we mess up or miss it.

2nd Timothy 2:13 (New Living Translation)

If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who he is.

Our Father is faithful to us.  Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “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.”  Psalm 33:4 (New Life Version) says “For the Word of the Lord is right. He is faithful in all He does.”  Thank God for His faithfulness.

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “Hall of Faith”, yet we could just as easily refer to it as the “Hall of Faithfulness.”

Consider faithful Abraham, who packed up all his belongings, not knowing where he was going, and followed after God.  He was faithful to obey God, and judged God faithful to provide a sacrifice when he offered up his only son, Isaac.

Moses was also faithful, forsaking a comfortable life in Egypt to pursue a life with God. God called Moses faithful.  God spoke to most prophets in visions and dreams.  But with Moses, he spoke with him face to face.  Why?  Because he was faithful.

Numbers 12:6-8
6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face…”

Other examples of faithfulness include Daniel.  Daniel was promoted to a leadership position while in captivity because of his faithfulness.

Daniel 6:3-4 (New Living Translation)
3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. 4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.

Paul was also faithful to the God who redeemed him and changed him.

1st Timothy 1:12

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful putting me into the ministry.

So then, we see that faithfulness is a fruit of the spirit, and evidenced by those who were counted faithful by God.  What did these men do to be considered faithful, and what does faithfulness mean in practical terms?

(1)  Faithfulness means to obey God.  To be faithful means to do what God says to do.  That means obeying His Word and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is our perfect example of obedience.  The scriptures clearly show how He chose to obey God throughout His entire life.

John 6:38
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 7:16
16Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.

Jesus was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

  (2)  Faithfulness means to choose right.  Psalm 119:30 (NASB) says, “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.” Every day, we have thousands of choices to make, and temptations to overcome.  Our choices can affect the outcome of a day, a month, a year, a life, and even eternity.   

The first step in having successful results from our choices in life is to make initial choices based in the Word. The second step is to have corresponding action in relation to that choice.  As I heard one minister say, “Decisions determine your direction.  Direction determines your destiny.”

(3)  Faithfulness is being honest.  Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  A person who is faithful will speak the truth in love.  A faithful friend will tell you if you have broccoli stuck in your teeth!  I was fortunate enough to have a faithful friend during my career who would tell me when I messed up.  Of course, it hurt my flesh to hear it, but it made me a better leader in the long run.  Be thankful for the people who will speak into your life and correct you so you can be successful in life!  

(4)  Faithfulness means to be loyal.  It is especially important to be loyal to and defend those with whom we have a close relationship, and those who are in authority over us.  The world would have us think that we don’t owe anything to anyone.  But to those who have done something for us, sacrificed for us, prayed for us, mentored us, we do owe something:  our loyalty.  Ruth showed her mother-in-law, Naomi, complete devotion, prioritizing their relationship over what might have been more comfortable for her.

King David was loyal to Saul, even when Saul sought to kill him.  David had the opportunity to kill him twice, but refused to stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed.

When I left my job this summer to be a stay at home mom, I gave my company three months notice.  Everyone thought I was crazy to do this, but I knew it would take that long to find a replacement, and I didn’t want to leave them struggling.  They developed me for years.  The least I could do was leave them in a good position to prosper.

(5)  Faithfulness means to be dependable.   Psalm 15:4 describes someone who keeps their promises, even when it hurts.  Being dependable is not always convenient, and sometimes hurts our flesh.  A faithful person follows through on their commitments, even if it means personal sacrifice, before moving on to something else.

Sometimes being dependable means being someone who can be trusted to keep things confidential.  Proverbs 11:13 says, “A  talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”  When something is told in confidence, a dependable person keeps it that way.

(6)   Faithfulness is trusting God - even when the circumstances say otherwise.  You don’t need to know how something is going to happen; you just need to know Who.  Abraham left his home not knowing what was in store, but he trusted God with his life.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  

We believed for our son, Evan, for 6 ½ years.  All the circumstances said to give up on the hope of having a baby.  Yet we knew from the Bible that God granted a child to every woman who prayed for one.  We knew that God was not a respecter of persons, but a respecter of faith.  We held on to His promise and confessed his Word:  Psalm 113: 9 “He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.” On December 6, 2006, we received a great gift – Evan Christian Bailey.

God rewards faithfulness.   Consider Elijah and Elisha.  Elisha was a faithful servant to Elijah for many years.  When Elijah went to be with the Lord, Elisha received double the anointing that was on Elijah, and had twice the number of miracles in his ministry.

A faithful man is blessed!  Proverbs 28:20 says,A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”

Faithfulness applies to any situation – big or small.  God will not reward you for the position or worldly success you attain but He will reward your faithfulness to do what He has called you to do.

To be continued...

[i] Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)