The English language is a funny thing. We’re taught certain rules and meanings for things at school, but it seems like things are constantly changing. New words and concepts flood our language so fast it gets hard to keep up and it seems like the Urban Dictionary is more useful some days than the normal dictionary. Acronyms that were once created to help us stay under the 140 character text message limit on phones are now so much part of our common language they are almost outdated. Yet at the same time other words which used to have greater meaning in our language have been so overused or simplified that they have lost much of their meaning and impact. I believe faithfulness is one of those words which has lost much of its meaning.
Faithfulness is a word that seems to have solely become about relationships and whether someone has been ‘faithful’ to their partner or not. And too often, we only hear in the context of someone being un-faithful. While using faithfulness is the context of relationships is valid and important, if it’s the only context we use it in we miss out on so much of what it can mean. You see, the concept of faithfulness is so much more than just being true in a relationship, it is a trait that can impact every aspect of our lives. This is why it is listed as one of the Fruit of the Spirit. When we look at the definition of faithful it talks about being “true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc” and being “reliable, trusted, or believed”. So being faithful isn’t just about not cheating on someone in a relationship, it’s about being true in every aspect of your life. When faithfulness is part of our character it permeates everything we do.
Putting faithfulness into practice in your life is one of those things that may not seem exciting at the time but which brings exciting results. When we choose to implement faithfulness into our character we choose to focus on the small, steady steps rather than going for huge leaps. Being faithful means committing to consistency. When we are faithful we show up even when things are hard, or we don’t feel like it, or when we’re not getting the results or rewards we think we should. Being faithful means that once we commit to something we stick to it, we are reliable and trustworthy. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, or that we feel the need to do everything, but it means that we are honest about what we can’t do and wise in the commitments we make so that we can follow through with them. Faithfulness sees the value of small investments and recognises their ability to grow into big results.
When I think about faithfulness in my own life, it’s one of those areas which I think I do ok in, but I also think I’ve got room for improvement. I do pretty well most of the time sticking to what I say I’m going to do and being willing to keep chipping away at things. But I also know there are times when I’m not so faithful. I know there are times when I let difficulty, or busyness, or frustration get in the way of seeing things through. I choose to take the easy way out rather than pushing through. I let my need for short-term results get in the way of investing in long-term achievements. I allow myself to be distracted instead of being dedicated. I need to put more focus on developing my faithfulness.
How are you with faithfulness? Are you about to keep seeing things through even when you don’t feel like it? Are you able to stay committed even when things are challenging? What area of your life can you be more faithful in this week and how can you work to stay faithful into the future? While faithfulness isn’t always easy, when we see things through we see great results.