“You’re a real rock!”
I wonder how you’d feel to be on the receiving end of such a statement. “A rock” doesn’t have the most glamorous ring to it; it speaks of being solid, secure, reliable, steady, stable and dependable. Perhaps we’d rather think of ourselves as being spontaneous, adventurous and exciting. However, when we examine closely the qualities we truly admire in our friends surely reliability, trustworthiness, loyalty and commitment are at the top of our list. They were high on the apostle Paul’s list when he outlined the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. He refers to these virtues as “Faithfulness” and we look more closely at this fruit today.
I’ll take this as another opportunity to remind us in a picture that we can always learn a lot from our pets, most particularly man’s faithful friend, the dog:
Reading: God’s Faithfulness
All the fruits of the Spirit come from God, since they are the qualities that He demonstrates to us. Let’s find out more about God’s faithfulness:
Deuteronomy 32 v 4
Lamentations 3 v 22-23
Psalm 27 v 1
2 Timothy 2 v 13
Jot down what we learn from these verses about God’s faithfulness. Try to put into your own words what it means to describe God as the Rock and a Stronghold, then use your concordance or search bar on your Bible app to find some more verses that refer to God as our Rock.
Take some time to think about what a blessing it is to have such a dependable God who never ever changes. We can get very frustrated with, and hurt by, friends who blow hot and cold and leave us unsure where we stand. Isn’t it great to have the steadiness of a loving Saviour, our Rock, in our lives? Why not write down a prayer to the Lord thanking Him for being your Rock?
Did you notice in 2 Timothy 2 v 13 how God’s faithfulness to us doesn’t depend on us being faithful to Him? Again, what a blessing! However we need to remember that He is setting us the example to follow and this is the standard for how we should treat others. Let’s do some revision for a moment or two…..
Love…..when people are not lovely
Joy…..when circumstances are not happy
Peace…..when it’s stormy
Patience….when people don’t deserve it
Kindness….when it makes us vulnerable
Goodness….. in the ups and the downs
Faithfulness….even to those who are not faithful
Yes, we really need a faithful God, our Rock, to produce this kind of fruit in our lives.
Reading: Being Faithful
1 Timothy 3 v 11
Luke 16 v 10
Write out the verses above into your journal.
1 Timothy 3 v 11 is giving instructions about how women who serve in the church should behave. What do they need to be faithful in? All things! That’s quite a challenge!!
But then Luke 16 v 10 really explains to us how to begin being faithful in ALL things…through being faithful in the SMALL things.
Before we consider what some of these small things might be, if you have time, read Matthew 25 v 14-30, a story which reinforces the importance of being faithful and trustworthy with small things.
Small things become all things
In your journal make a list of all the different aspects of your life (school, home, friends, church etc) and jot down any areas within these where you think the Lord is prompting you to be more reliable and trustworthy.
As you read some of these prompts you may think these are very trivial tiny things that really don’t matter; but let me encourage you to think about this verse from Song of Solomon.
Remember we are growing fruit, a vine if you like. This verse tells us it can be lots of little things (“the little foxes”) that spoil the fruits flourishing in our lives, rather than one big major problem.
- Do you always get your homework done on time and to the best standard that you know you are capable of?
- Do you show respect for school property by tidying away your litter and helping tidy classrooms? You may think that’s a very minor issue, but by leaving a mess behind us we are showing a lack of respect to the cleaning staff who then have extra work to do because of us! Our thoughtlessness can make these people feel very under-valued.
[Note, another case of this is when we’re shopping. How do we react when we brush past a clothes rail and knock down a few items? If we leave them lying and walk away are we not showing real thoughtlessness to the people who will have to come along after us and pick them up?]
- Are you true to your word when you make arrangements to meet up or get in touch? Will your friends know they can rely on you? “If she said she’ll be there, she’ll be there!”
- Secrets – this is a big one! When someone confides something in you, can you be trusted to keep it a secret? Sometimes, because we’re bursting to tell, we can convince ourselves we’re only passing it on out of concern, but if that genuinely is the case, surely we should be willing and able to tell our friend what we’ve done.
It’s such a blessing to have people in your life who you know can listen to you in confidence and you have full assurance it won’t be passed on. Learn to be a person like that. Amy Carmichael put it like this
“learn to be a deep well”.
It’s a great quality to develop!
You probably have commitments to church activities or sports clubs, where people are relying on you to turn up.
- Do you just go when you feel like it? Again this can show an attitude of thoughtlessness. What if resources have been prepared for you in advance and by your ‘no show’ they are wasted, or this leaves your team or group short of numbers? Remember, usually our lack of faithfulness is causing others to have to work harder!
- Punctuality – ok, I know this is an area I need to work on! While studying this I’ve been struck by how lateness can be a “little fox”. Consistently turning up late for friends or activities can give those we keep waiting the impression that their time doesn’t really matter and they’re unimportant to us.
Yes, these are all small things, but the small things will add together to become all things. It has been said that
“character is what we are when no-one is looking”.
This involves being faithful in these small things that we think others may not notice, but God notices and promises that if we are faithful in small, He will give us more responsibilities to serve Him in His Kingdom.
“Do the right thing, even when no-one is looking”,
because remember God is always looking! Victory in our lives is found by doing the right thing, not just once or twice, but over and over and over again. It’s all the small things that add up to form a character and a life.
None of this may sound very exciting or even challenging, but it can have a lasting impact. William Carey was a great missionary, faithful in service to God for 41 years in India. When asked to discuss the secret of his success he said
“I can plod, I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything”.
In other words William Carey had learned to be consistent and faithful in things big and small, which come together to be all things.
Final Thoughts: Faithfulness to God
As we draw near to the end of the 20/20 Vision Challenge and you have been faithful in your Bible studies, let’s pray and be determined that this is an area in which we will continue to be faithful. Surely being faithful to digging deeper in Bible study and praying about everything that we learn, as well as the needs of others, is the secret to developing faithfulness in all things!