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The Faithfulness Test | Tested

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The Faithfulness Test | Tested

Monday Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart.   Proverbs 3:3

FAITHFULNESS: the quality of being loyal and trustworthy; being true to one’s commitments. Faithfulness is one of God’s characteristics, so when the Holy Spirit moves into a repentant heart, He brings faithfulness with Him (Gal. 5:22-23). To better understand what that looks like, think of people like bridges. A faithful bridge is solid and doesn’t budge even when trucks rumble across. An unfaithful bridge has visible cracks and shudders with every cyclist. It might hold up; it might not. But which bridge would you rather cross? Fred might do what he said; he might not. Would you consider him a faithful person?

A faithful person shows up when they said they would. They are promise keepers, steady, and not controlled by emotion. Faithful people do what is right, even when no one else does. They see God’s commands as friends, not rules, and build their lives on them. They are faithful in church attendance, in serving, in giving, in relationships, and in practicing self-discipline. When they mess up, they make it right. Faithfulness characterized Jesus’ life, so when we are faithful, we are being like Him. If He said He would do something, He did it—all the way to the cross. Paul wrote that God “who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it” (Phil. 1:6). If we want to be like our heavenly Father and our big brother Jesus, we’ll develop faithfulness.

Final Thought: Do people who live or work with you consider you a faithful person?

Prayer: Father, your word says that faithfulness is one of your defining traits. Is it one of mine? Am I faithful to you? To my friends? My family? Do I keep my word? Help me develop the kind of faithfulness you have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tuesday Fear the LORD and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

Marta looked more frazzled than usual. “Where’s Kim?” she shouted over the wails of a roomful of two-year-olds. Three preschool workers shrugged and looked at each other. Marta clamped her lips and scanned the list of volunteers. “Kim can’t keep doing this,” she murmured under her breath. “She says she wants to serve, then doesn’t show up. Always some lame excuse. Acts like we’ve got a stable full of eager workers standing by to replace her.” Ella laid a hand on Marta’s arm. “I’m sorry, Marta,” she said. “It must be rough dealing with no-shows every week. We’ll try to make it work, just the three of us.”

Kim’s unfaithfulness created stress for her teammates. This seems obvious, but many people don’t see how important faithfulness is. In our consumeristic, narcissistic culture, no-shows are a growing problem. “They’ll get somebody else,” say the unfaithful. “I needed ME time… Oh, didn’t I tell you? We’re going on vacation… Sorry. We were out so late last night, it just slipped my mind.” This is all spoken with a smile and a dismissive wave as though no one else’s schedule matters. Faithful people honor their commitments, even when it’s costly. Unfaithful people are branded with labels they would find offensive if they knew about them: Liar. Irresponsible. Selfish. Undependable. A person may be enthusiastic and talented, but if he or she can’t be counted on, they’ll be passed over for greater responsibilities and benefits, both now and in eternity. Jesus promised great rewards for those who serve Him faithfully (Revelation 22:12). That means He has zero tolerance for no-shows.

Final Thought: Will Jesus reward you for your faithfulness when He comes?

Prayer: Father, I want to be found faithful when I stand before you. Faithful in obedience, in serving, in my finances, in my commitments, and in my private life. Draw me closer so I can learn faithfulness from watching you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Wednesday It’s like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. Matt. 25:14

What’s the most important word in that verse? Read it again. Is it the man going on a journey? The servants? The property?  Look closer. What does the man leave his servants? HIS property. This man owned a lot of property and he entrusted its care to his servants while he was gone. Did the property become theirs? Of course not. They did not stop being servants simply because they held great wealth. It wasn’t theirs to do with as they pleased. They were only trustees for the master.

All we have is on loan to us from the Master. We don’t act like it. We brag and compare, covet and consume as though everything good in our lives was our own doing. Jesus jerks us back to reality with those two words—His Property. God has invested some of His property with each one of us. Some people have more, some less, but it’s all His property and He wants a return on His investment. A return with eternal significance. Our Master trusts us with a few George Washington’s, expecting us to turn them into lives blessed and souls saved. He loans us talents and skills so we can show off His glory in unique ways. He allows us energy, time, and creativity, then watches what we do with it. It’s not ours. We’re only trustees for the Master.

Final Thought: How faithfully are you investing what God has loaned you?

Prayer: Father, how well have I invested all you’ve given me? How much of it will have an eternal payoff? Help me remember that all I am and all I have is on loan from you, so I need to use everything I have for your purposes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Thursday After a long time the master of those servants returned to settle accounts with them.  Matthew 25:19

“So how how’d you do?” the Master asked. “I know what I gave you, your obstacles, and your resources. What did you do with what you were given?” Bessie Bustle shouldered her way to the front of the crowd. “You’ll be pleased with me, Sir,” she said. “I headed several charities, I sponsored kids in Africa, I—” She stopped suddenly at the Master’s raised hand. “I know all about that Bessie,” He said. “But I’m wondering about your daily faithfulness. Your sexual immorality grieves me. You’re in debt due to your love of wealth, and your kids won’t speak to you. I’m gonna have to light a match to all your deeds. Only the ones done for my honor and glory will survive the flames. I’m sorry, Bessie. I so wanted to reward you when I came back.”

Like many of us, Bessie discounted her personal faithfulness in order to shine a light on her outward good deeds. While we should do good things that others notice, God places equal weight on the little things we think no one cares about. When Jesus settles accounts with us, He’ll shine a spotlight on those areas of our lives where we refused to be faithful. He’s not the least bit impressed by outward show. He’s totally focused on inward motivations. Secret actions. Hasty words. Private plans. If our good deeds are not a reflection of a good heart, they don’t count for anything. They’ll burn up as “wood, hay, and stubble”

(1 Cor. 3:11-13). God knows exactly what He’s given each of us, so there’ll be no excuses. He rewards faithfulness.

Final Thought:  When you’re called to give an account to the Master, can you report faithfulness in everything?

Prayer: Father, my focus has been wrong. I think that if my good deeds are impressive enough, you won’t care about those secret parts of my life where I am unfaithful. Help me to be as faithful in private as in public.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  Luke 16:10

“I want to know why you won’t put me in leadership,” said Quin. “I’ve been in this church for ten years and still you won’t let me do anything important. Gus has only been here a few months and he’s already leading. Are you prejudice against me?” Pastor Nel smiled at Quin’s red face and laid a fatherly hand on his shoulder. “I love you, Quin,” he said. “I’m excited to see you growing. But you drop out of sight every time you’re offended. Your wife says you’re still lying to her, and you didn’t show up for the project last week that you’d signed up for. Your language, Quin… It’s the little things that give me confidence in a person.”

It is interesting that Jesus contrasted faithfulness with dishonesty. We don’t think of those two as opposites, but let’s look a little closer. Dishonesty affects every aspect of our lives and when we give ourselves a pass in one area, we tend to fudge the truth in other areas as well. A faithful person is reliable with the truth, even at their own expense. We trust people who told the truth when it didn’t suit them. The people who show up to paint the nursery, sweep the parking lot, and tithe their unemployment checks are usually people who can be trusted with greater things. Faithful people are honest in every area of their lives.

Final Thought:  On an honesty scale from 0 (big liar) to 10 (painfully honest), how faithful are you with the truth?

Prayer: Father, am I faithful with the truth? Can people trust me with little things, little details, little assignments? I want to be honest in every area of my life: my words, my actions. Convict me when I’m not faithful with the truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.