What comes to mind when you hear the word, faithful? It’s the month of love, so commitment to a romantic relationship or vow might be top-of-mind. Or, perhaps you see an image of your dog, who follows you around like a shadow, regardless of how little attention you may have paid him. Or, maybe it brings to mind a friend, who has pursued the best for you, even when you didn’t have the strength for yourself. I suspect for many of us, the synonyms that arise include reliable, devoted, trustworthy, true, loyal or unwavering in commitment.
It’s interesting to me that according to both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, the last definition for the word, faithful is one that is now deemed obsolete: full of faith; believing. Any idea why?? (I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments! I was surprised to learn this, because I still use this definition!)
Regardless, when I think of who truly embodies the word faithful, my mind doesn’t even go to humanity. We are all (at times) fickle, selfish and fallible. We make mistakes, and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. It’s why we need to be careful about holding anyone to standard of perfection. Every human will let us down, even with the best of intentions not to do so. (If we accept this going into ANY relationship, it’s so much easier to give grace and move on! I wish I had known this earlier in life!)
Instead, when I think of faithful, I think of the only One who will be perfectly so – God. I also know that He embodies every aspect of this definition – even the so-called obsolete meaning. Yes, of course it makes sense that we should be faithful to Him. He knows everything, can do everything and NEVER fails. He’s so worth clinging to, because we can claim VICTORY through and with Him! Yet, we so (humanly) doubt our faith, neglect to invite Him in and fail to release our controlling grips; not fully trusting Him, His capabilities or His incomparable love for us. … which makes it that much more extraordinary that, even so, He remains faithful to us.
Over and over again, the Bible reminds of us God’s faithfulness; His desire to be close, to protect, strengthen, comfort, and always, always, always keep His promises. Even when we stray, He seeks us out, eager to re-claim us and bring us back into His protection.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations… (Deuteronomy 7:9)
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If I’m totally honest (and, this will date me) my mind quickly goes to this…
And, the truth is, we’re not…but God doesn’t measure us like that. He loves us THAT much, even with full knowledge of everything (wrong) we’ve done and everything (unholy) we think and feel. He knows the WORST in us because He created us. Frankly, He knows all the intricate details of our weaknesses and temptations, just as he knows the number of hairs on our head. But he believes in the BEST in us, because He knows we can do ALL things through Christ, whom He sent just for us and our shortcomings. He knows that when we seek Him and allow Him to use us and our lives fully, He can use us to accomplish plans for His purposes and glory. That’s the ultimate win-win! Our leaning into Him only draws Him in even closer, creating an intimacy that will radiate His goodness through our lives.
God wants to use us. Isn’t it just amazing that He would give us opportunities like that?! It’s all part of his great faithfulness, because He knows we’ll get so much joy and fulfillment from it. To be clear, though, He doesn’t NEED us. He can accomplish His great plans without us…He simply loves us enough to include us.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
In the end, when I consider God’s faithfulness and what it might look like, I can visualize it much like it’s laid out in both scripture and nature. (Coincidence? I think not!) It’s much like a vine and its branches. He is the vine, and He gives us our lives (the branches.) He stays faithfully connected, and He provides. When we choose to intertwine our lives, we are vibrant, hydrated and refreshed, full of life and hearty. We produce plump, sweet, colorful fruit – the product of mutual faithfulness and alignment in purpose. He faithfully provides all that we need for the most glorious harvest in our lives.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Think about this…how much work is required of branches that isn’t directly powered by the vine from which it grows?
That is the faithfulness of our God. He is there. Connected. Providing. Nourishing, Strengthening. Protecting. Healing. Always. He is the Giver of life, and full, fruitful lives are what He wants us to experience. That’s who God is.
He is faithful. From the beginning to the end; Alpha and Omega.
And, not even remotely obsolete, Merriam-Webster. I have ultimate faith in that.
Will you pray with me…
Lord, help us to understand the vastness and depth of your love and faithfulness. Let it wash over us like waves of the ocean, and Lord, please let it seep into our hearts and souls. Your faithfulness – your abiding – is a comfort and strength. Let it be a constant we count on, come to and draw from. You are the Vine, and we desperately want to be fruitful branches. Help us to receive the fullness you have for us, and help us faithfully stay rooted in You. Let us reap a harvest together, Lord. In faithfulness. Amen.