When my Alberta girl was little she loved to read a book of rhymes at my mom’s home. She particularly liked “To Market, To Market” and would often happily repeat “homey, homey” (which was her version of the home again line) when we’d pull into our driveway after traveling.
We are on our way home from a delightful time away visiting our family and friends for the Christmas holidays. We are feeling refreshed and thankful. I actually didn’t realize how tired I was until we had settled in at our techie boy’s house, which served as a home base for the first half of our trip, and spent a good deal of time resting. The remainder was spent at our Northern boy’s home where we relaxed and enjoyed time with our precious grandlittles (twin nineteen month old boys) and their parents.
We visited together as the year was drawing to a close and we discussed new years’ resolutions or aspirations or bucket lists or goals…whatever you wish to call them. While I’m a list-maker and I’m all for fresh starts and intentional living, whether for sake of health, spiritual well-being, chaos control or building relationships, I’m generally not one to make such promises to myself because, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a little trouble with the follow-through. However, something has been on my mind for a while now and as we listened to our praise and worship playlist on the journey home, “Over and Over Again” by I am They played and I was reminded once again of my thoughts. Even our podcasts by Ravi Zacharias and Charles Price reinforced this contemplation.
God is faithful. Always.
This I know well and first-hand.
Here are a few synonyms for faithful: loyal, committed, true, dependable, steadfast, unwavering, devoted. These are definitely attributes of God. I sheepishly admit, as I look through the list, I am not always faithful to Him. Does He deserve my faithfulness? Absolutely! Yet He knows my feeble, selfish and fickle heart. He knows my desire to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” but He also knows my struggle to do the things I should. He knows I need help.
Case in point: While we were traveling I found that I spent very little time in His Word or in prayer. ‘Oh I prayed for so and so today,’ I’d console myself. ‘I prayed before I fell asleep (all of three minutes, I’m sure). I think I read my Bible yesterday while everyone was busy with their own affairs. I read a couple of devotional articles on social media.’ You see where I’m going…I didn’t make time for Him. My focus on Him was cursory at best.
Of course, this is not the extent of my failure of being a faithful follower of Christ. Regrettably, the list is long. Loyalty in the face of opposition, dependability to do the tasks set before me, and unwavering devotion are traits that do not come naturally to me.
Have you ever seen the acrostic for JOY? Jesus. Others. You. Finding joy in my life comes from setting priorities. Please don’t get hot and bothered. I know we are told to make time for ourselves, do things for our own pleasure. While this is not necessarily an incorrect practice, I personally believe when we focus less on ourselves we feel more fulfilled, more content. Think of Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” However, that is not the point I am trying to make. The point is this:
We are told in Mark 12:30-31, “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If Jesus is Lord of my life, He deserves priority.
He, after all, is the One who paid for my life with His own.
My time, my resources, my life are in His hands, to be used for His glory, serving Him and serving others.
God is faithful. Always.
Because I know this to be true, my actions and my prayers should reflect this. I should be full of faith. My faithfulness is about my character and my actions, or lack thereof. For me to be full of faith suggests that I am entirely trusting my God who epitomizes faithfulness–His character and actions.
When I pray, I often forget to pray with expectation, full of faith, knowing that my Father is faithful to answer prayer. I forget to thank Him for the awesome things, the miraculous things, I know He can do. To thank Him in advance even if He answers, “no,” because I trust Him to do what is best. I may not know the details or understand His plan, I may not even like the answer. But He always answers.
When I step out to do the things I believe He wants me to do, I need to step out full of faith that He will work out the details. Does that mean I rest on my haunches waiting for opportunities and guidance? Sometimes I am to be still and wait. But most often, I think, as we go about our business, asking Him for those opportunities (for example, a chance to help someone), He will give us those occasions through divine appointments and direct our steps through various circumstances. This can relate to the little activities in my life as well as the bigger decisions I must make.
When I am tempted to fret, I should be full of faith that the One who is faithful will keep His promises, that He has my best interests at heart. Again, this can be especially hard when He answers, “No,” to my petitions or when He allows trials in my life in order to teach me or even save me from things unseen to me.
When I am overwhelmed at my lack of faith, I can remember that He is faithful to help with even this. He finds me where I am. Picks me up. Shows grace. Tells me that when I am weak, He is strong–I can draw on His strength. He tells me that He is doing a work in me–my faith is being built up. My faithfulness will, hopefully, follow suit.
This new year, my purpose–my prayer–is to be found both faithful and full of faith.