God’s Faithful Leads to Our Faith
The LORD passed before [Moses] and proclaimed,
“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”
Exodus 34:6, ESV
God is faithful, and His faithfulness is the initiation of our faith. We talked about this last week. Here’s a reminder:
Faith is knowing, deep in your bones, that God is forever faithful, that He is Who He says He is and will do what He has promised to do, even when all the evidence might cause you to doubt. God’s faithfulness is demonstrated by: the sacrifice of Jesus to save us, His people; the deposit of the Holy Spirit within us, as a kind of down payment of the inheritance that waits for us (eternal life); and God’s providence.
So God’s faithfulness—His devoted love/steadfast character—causes Him to seek and woo His people. In spite of the fact that we are wayward people with wandering hearts, His Spirit wins us over, bringing us to a saving faith. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44, ESV). His covenant of love, His HESED, means He will always pursue us and never let us down—this love is the basis of His faithfulness.
Because we are made in His image, we are called to be faithful, like Him. We hear this word often, but what does it mean to be faithful? To be faithful is to be:
…loyal, constant, staunch, steadfast, resolute mean firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance. Faithful implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted (i.e. faithful to a promise).
Yes. God is faithful,
but how in the world can we ever be faithful,
like He is?
If you’re at all like me, some days it’s a struggle. To be faithful to God is be completely loyal to Him. Jesus spelled out for us what this means: (1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; (2) Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). He explained that this means putting others first and being willing to become a servant to others (Matthew 5:38-48, 20:26-27). Scripture says that, because we have been loved so well, we owe a debt of love to others (Luke 6:35; John 13:34; 1 John 4:20; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13). But, as for me?
- I am called to love God with my whole heart, but often my heart is divided…I want to serve myself more than serving Him. Dying to self is a stop and go process for me!
- When I get an eye roll or a rude tone from my husband or kids, I quickly forget my debt of love.
- I can’t seem to turn the other cheek when I get cut off, driving out of my neighborhood, which happens every other week.
- And if I’m honest, I’m still holding a grudge against the lady at the frame shop who made a mistake, then blamed and charged me for it. Sheesh!
So, if I am supposed to love like my Heavenly Father does and most days I don’t, that makes me decidedly un-faithful, right? In the past, this led me to doubt God’s love for me, because how could He love someone—like me—who just keeps messing up? It felt like my relationship with Him was dysfunctional, like so many other relationships I’ve known.
Through studying God’s Word and seeing Him at work in my life—through the words and lives of other believers, and through the work of the Holy Spirit—now I know this: God loves me, not because of me. God loves me because He is a promise-keeper. He is a truth-teller and He says He loves me, so He does.
Gives Us a Faith that
Leads to Our Faithfulness
This relationship that God initiates with us, He also sustains. He continually turns our hearts toward Him. His faithfulness keeps pursuing us. Day after day, year after year, He is there. As we SEE that He is faithful to us, our faith—the sure knowledge that He will always work for our good, according to His character—is proven and continues to grow. And the more we walk with Him, and really come to know Him, the more we can’t help but love Him. This growing love for God is key to our growing faithfulness!
We love because he first loved us.
John 4:19, ESV
We can’t love God or people perfectly, this side of heaven, but our love for the Lord and our desire to show love to Him, through obedience, keeps us coming back to Him. We can easily see our need for the Helper, God’s Holy Spirit, to teach us how to honor God. And we see that when we fail—which we are bound to do—we need His mercy and grace.
Our faithfulness does not always look quite like God’s. He is perfectly devoted, out of love. Often, we are desperately devoted, out of need; but we are devoted, nonetheless! Thankfully, His Spirit, is also growing in us (sometimes very S-L-O-W-L-Y) a faithfulness that is like His. Because God has made Himself known to us, we are able to “reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV).
So, God’s faithfulness creates our faith in Him. And this faith we have been given grows a faithfulness in us. Isn’t He good?