How do we respond when someone criticizes us? Do we defend ourselves or simply speak the truth and give it to Jesus? Do we look for God’s presence instead of the situation? When Jesus was criticized, He remained faithful to the Father, even to death. Do we need to defend ourselves when we have already been justified by Christ? “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galations 2:20)
Faithfulness is an important subject of the Bible. In just the New Testament alone, the words “faithful” and “faithfulness” occur some 56 times in the NET Bible, 49 in the NASB and 47 in the NIV. In the Old Testament these two words occur 95 times in the NIV and 86 in the NASB. This repetition speaks loudly for the importance and need of this spiritual quality both to the people of God who depend on God’s faithfulness and in the people of God as His people who are to faithfully model God’s character to a world that is too often anything but faithful (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
In the Bible, we are only given brief glimpses into the lives of men and women of faith; as a result, we only really get the highlights and the climaxes. Think of Abraham, leaving behind everything he’d known in Ur to follow God on a journey into the unknown. We are given a few key stories about his encounters with God and a handful of other life events. But how many days were spent just walking? How many days were spent pitching tents and tending flocks and waiting for further instructions? How often was he tempted to stay put or maybe even to turn back? He had to choose faithfulness one ordinary day at a time. And that is how we are called to live, faithfully no matter the circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:23-24)
Soon after Jesus began His public ministry, His reputation spread (Luke 4:37). Miracles of healing, casting out demons, and befriending society’s outcasts all captured people’s attention for miles. Why? No one had ever done what Jesus did. He was different: gentle and doing good wherever He went, yet confident and loving.
As His good reputation spread, so did false reports, personal attacks, and ultimately threats on His life. But His defense was speaking the truth, giving glory to God, and continuing on the obedient path His heavenly Father assigned Him. “Faithful” characterized Jesus, even to His death. “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'” (Matt. 26:62-64)
From a human point of view, Jesus’ world had collapsed. No help from the people, no loyalty from His friends. But that’s not how Jesus saw it. He saw something else entirely. He wasn’t oblivious to the circumstances; He just wasn’t limited to them. Somehow He was able to see good in the bad, the purpose in the pain, and God’s presence in the problem and remain faithful to what He was called to do.
Maybe you thought your life would look a lot different than it does. You might have longed to do something really significant, and you are wondering if you did something wrong or missed your chance. But don’t miss the glory of what God is doing right in front of you because you are expecting it to look a certain way.
Are you loving people? Are you striving to work with integrity and honesty? Are you serving others? Are you being a dependable friend? Are you walking in humility? Are you doing your best to walk in reconciliation? Are you choosing contentment and gratitude in a world driven by greed and selfish ambition? Most importantly, are you building a life based on who God says He is and what He promises? And on the days when you don’t do these things as well as you would like to, are you getting back up and trying again?
Then you are doing something significant for God’s kingdom, and you are making a difference. It makes a difference to the people you encounter every day when you do your best to reflect God’s heart in your words and actions, even if you do not realize or see the eternal work taking place.
Much of our spiritual journey is a steadfast walk by faith, not by sight. It is about being consistent and trustworthy with the “little things”, while noticing and praising the Lord in every situation. It may be that we are called not for great things for the Lord, but maybe in continuing our faithfulness in the mundane, in the every day. The love and truth we share every day with others. It may be that many of those “little things” will turn out to be a lot more significant than we thought once we get to view them through the lens of eternity.
- NIV Study Bible
- Mornings With Jesus
- Ordinary Faithfulness