Sticking with It
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Business leaders say that success in any field is not so much dependent upon the big decisions that are made once in a while as it is upon doing the same right little things over and over again. Those kinds of things include being on time, planning the work day the evening before, returning all calls within a 24-hour period, treating people as valued team members, and not procrastinating. It seems that business success is more dependent upon consistency and faithfulness than it is upon inspired ideas or lucky breaks.
The same principle holds true in our relationships. A good marriage or a long-term friendship is more dependent upon the day-to-day give and take of talking to one another and maneuvering through the daily grind than it is upon the great romantic dinners, vacations together, support during a crisis, or even significant milestones. To us as humans, little things mean a lot. Relationships last because our characters and the characters of those we relate to prove to be faithful and dependable.
The principle of faithfulness is no less vital in our spiritual development. It’s the little things we do over and over again that continue to take us into the presence of God, enable us to receive his direction, and encourage us to submit to his authority in our lives. Those things include daily Bible reading and prayer as well as practicing other disciplines such as meditation, scripture memorization, church attendance, and engaging in personal times of worship.
With God, too, the little things mean a lot. Faithfulness may begin with our commitment to these small things, but as the faithfulness factor grows in our lives, we begin to see results.
Our consistency will be rewarded with answered prayers, fulfilling relationships, and blessings yet to be discovered.
The first part to learning faithfulness is turning our back on self-centered living. If we can get ourselves out of the focus and turn, instead, to others, we will find it is easier to be faithful.
Instead of wondering if our own needs are met, we will look toward meeting the needs of others.
Instead of quitting a friendship if our feelings get hurt, we will hang in there and work out the problems.
Instead of bailing out when the going gets rough, we will be able to be committed to a higher value than our own happiness.
Re-focusing our attention on others requires that we respect them in spite of their failings, love them even when they are not acting lovably, and serve them when they don’t deserve it*.
As we do these things, we will grow in faithfulness.
The second part of faithfulness has to do with adopting a pattern of God-centered living. We do this by understanding the faithfulness of God. His character will grow within us as we set it before us through prayer, meditation, and study. Sometimes it seems impossible to hang in there with someone who doesn’t deserve our loyalty. But the impossible becomes possible when God is in it. And faithfulness is his plan.
One of the most reassuring things we can count on in our lives is God’s faithfulness to us. Here are a few scriptures that tell us God is . . .
faithful to all his promises. (Psalm 145:13)
faithful to keep us strong. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)
faithful when we are tempted. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
faithful to forgive us. (1 John 1:9)
faithful when we suffer. (1 Peter 4:19)
We can count on God to do whatever he has said he would do, to support us when we are weak, to forgive us when we confess our failures, and to encourage us when we are going through difficult times.
What God is to us, we should be to others. Let’s commit to looking around us and being aware when our unwavering support will be a lifesaver to someone else. Faithfulness is keeping on even when keeping on is not easy to do. It is doing the right thing even if it is the hard thing - with our eye toward the goal of God’s “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).
“A true friend advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” – William Penn
*Please note that unthinking faithfulness to an abusive person is not required. In such cases, wise counsel should be sought, and decisions made accordingly. Faithfulness to God is what counts in these situations.