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Monday, November 30, 2020

Faithfulness

By Joe Chesser
 
    I haven’t heard it in a long time, but one of the standard wedding songs when I was much younger was Faithful and True. Can you hear the tune? Although the lyrics speak in language of old, the idea of being faithful and true is just as important today as it has ever been. Faithfulness is important in all areas of Christian lives, not just in our marriages. Why? Because faithfulness is a quality Jesus expects in his disciples.
    Faithfulness is simply living up to the expectations of what you believe. If you believe a husband and wife should never have a sexual relationship outside of their marriage, being faithful is putting that belief into practice 100%. However, believing it is one thing, doing it is another. Faithfulness is practicing what you believe.
    The same principle is true in our “marriage” to Christ. Faith is believing in God and in what God says. Faithfulness is putting that faith into practice. We will not please God without believing that He exists and without earnestly seeking Him (Hebrews 11.6). There is an important distinction between having faith and being faithful. Jesus pronounced a curse on the teachers of the law and Pharisees (people who believed in God) because they “neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23.23). The fruit of the Spirit that needs to be produced in those who belong to Christ Jesus includes faithfulness. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5.22-25). God blesses those who both listen to His word and do what it says. We deceive ourselves if we believe simply listening to Him is ok (James 1.22-25).
    Among the last things Jesus taught before his death was the parable of the talents. It’s a story about faithfulness. Three guys were given some money. It’s not important how much. What’s important is what they did with their money. Two of them used their money to make more money, and the master commended them: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25.21, 23). Because of their faithfulness, they were invited to share in the master’s happiness. But one of the servants was not so blessed. Not because he didn’t believe in the master, for he did. He knew a lot about him. He feared him. As a result, instead of using the money he was given, he hid it so he wouldn’t lose it. The master was livid: “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gathered where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. … throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25.26-30). Unfaithfulness: wicked, lazy, worthless.
    Jesus calls on his church to be faithful, even to the point of death. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 2.10-11). Be faithful.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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