For this very reason, we place God in a box. We want a God whom we worship on Sundays and can stuff away in a box for the remainder of the week. We place our box up on a high shelf in our home that we gaze upon from time to time. We say to ourselves, “Wow, that box looks so pretty. Maybe I’ll take it down this week and gaze inside.” But another week passes by and before we know it, it is Sunday again. We take down our box, dust if off and carry it to church once again. This pattern continues week after week, month after month, year after year. We promise ourselves that we will spend more time with our box next year. But, another New Year’s Resolution goes by.
Until one day, we hit a crisis in our life and then we become so hysterical, that we pull down our box and peer inside. We shake our box in desperation, praying for a miracle and promising that we will change and be better at spending time with our box. However, the crisis passes and we survive, we make it to the other side. Before we know it, our box, our beautiful box, is placed back up on our shelf.
I want to introduce you to faithfulness, the seventh fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. In his commentary on Galatians, William Barclay writes, “This word is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable” (p. 51).
According to Webster, faithfulness implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted (faithful to her promise). It implies a sense of loyalty, firmly resisting any temptation to desert or betray (remained loyal to the czar). Faithfulness is constant, suggesting freedom from fickleness in affections or loyalties (a constant friend). There is a strong allegiance or resolution to one’s principles or purposes that will not be easily swayed, as well as, a steadfastness that will not be turned aside at any cause. Faithfulness is resolute, stressing its unwavering determination to reach the finish line. (For additional study, see the Forerunner Commentary).
We may become disgruntled with God or impatient in hearing His voice, and so in our haste, we walk away. Due to our self-centeredness, we cheat on our God and replace Him with material, carnal things in an attempt to be satisfied. We are deceived into thinking that our way is better, that we know what we are doing and we don’t need God right now. Disloyal, dishonest, unreliable, undependable, unbelieving are just a few words that describe who we really are. What does Deuteronomy 31:8 promise us?
I desperately want to be faithful and I believe that you do as well. However, we will never fully extend the fruit of faithfulness until we put our complete trust in Him. Stay tuned to hear more about faithfulness in my next blog.