The world is pulling, constantly pulling, and my mind can be so absorbed by all that I see around me. Sometimes at the end of the day I realize that I’ve thought very little about the Lord all day. Oh sure, I offered a prayer or two, but I never really connected with Him since our time together that morning. And I hate that. He is so faithful to me, and I want to be faithful to Him.
Listen to the words that Solomon taught his son, found in Proverbs 3:1-1-4.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (NIV).
We live in a culture in which unfaithfulness seems to be the norm. Spouses are no longer faithful to each other; children are not faithful to their parents; employees are no longer faithful to their bosses; and church members aren’t faithful to the church or to each other. If we get bored in a relationship, it’s really easy to move on these days, and we get bored pretty easily. Or if relationships become strained and difficult, it can seem so much easier to walk away.
But I am so moved by God’s faithfulness to us. The whole story of the nation of Israel is a demonstration of the love and faithfulness of God. So is the book of Hosea. So is the Gospel. And yet I can get so wrapped up in the busyness of my day that my devotion to Jesus gets placed on a back burner, and that is just the toe-hold Satan needs to get a foot-hold. When Satan gets a foot-hold, he will take a stronghold.
If faithfulness were always easy, everyone would be faithful. Being a Christ-follower requires something of us. I’m not saying that we are saved by anything other than our faith in Christ’s sacrifice and shed blood on the cross, but I am saying that once we come into a relationship with Jesus, our lives should be characterized by change. The unfaithful should become faithful; the unloving should become loving. Our hearts and our desires should be different.
Jesus calls us to follow Him, abide in Him, and bear fruit for Him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:5, 7-8).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23a).
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit that comes from abiding in the Lord. So how do we remain faithful to God in our daily lives? I’ve found that I struggle with this concept. It goes something like this:
- I make a decision to really seek the Lord and set my mind on the things of God and His Kingdom. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
- I am very soon tempted with a desire of the flesh, the world, or the devil. You have probably heard the saying, “New level, new devil.”
I would be lying if I claimed that I always run from temptation and stay faithful to God. The enemy knows when we are tired, hungry, hormonal, or stressed. These are the times when it is most difficult to withstand temptation. And honestly, sometimes obeying God goes against everything in us–at least in our natural selves. But I have learned a few things that help me when I struggle to remain faithful to God. I have to remember that:
- God is always providing a way out. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- I don’t have to let my thoughts, feelings, or natural desires win. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires…You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:5, 9).
- I can walk by faith in God’s promises, even when it’s hard. “Because he himself [Jesus] suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
- The blessings of obedience far outweigh the consequences of disobedience. “Now then, my son, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway” (Proverbs 8:32-34).
If I want to walk in the Spirit, be a good wife and mother, be a good teacher, have a ministry that impacts others for the Kingdom of God, then I must learn to walk by faith in God’s promises and be faithful to Him. I can’t make excuses for my sin because if I continue in it, others will suffer too. Jesus is counting on me. Even when obeying hurts. Especially when obeying hurts.
So, I am trying to face my sin, call it what it is, and depend on the power of God to turn away from it. No–it’s not easy, but I believe it will all be worth it in the end.
How about you? How do you deal with sin in your life? What verses gives you strength to be faithful to God? Join the conversation!