Faithfulness ... the Epitome.
For some reason, Tony - you know Rocky's trainer in the corner of the ring, comes to mind this morning! Hmmm
epitome (noun) ~ a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type: God is the epitome of faithfulness.
Here's the thing:
Being a Christian~
endeavoring to be a Christ-follower
attending church on Sunday
going to Bible study
telling others about God
even praying …
all would be foolish unless true that:
God is the epitome of faithfulness
Have you known God’s faithfulness in your life? I have, even though I have not always been faithful to him. In spite of me, God is faithful and that is because it is his nature; it is who he is. There is no point in putting our faith in anything we do not find trustworthy or faithful—much less God!
How have I experienced God’s faithfulness? Well, I have experienced it through… Not so fast! The standard reply is usually ‘answered prayer’. ‘I know God is faithful because he answers my prayers.’ Not so fast. What if your prayer was not answered the way you wanted—like your relative or your friend with cancer was not healed, even though you prayed faithfully? Does that mean that God is not faithful? You might think so…not me.
So, no, I would not answer, ‘how have I experienced God’s faithfulness?’ with ‘through answered prayer.’ Don’t get me wrong--without an inkling of doubt, I know God answers prayer… and what’s more, he has answered my prayers. God has answered little prayers and big prayers of mine; actually, I don’t really think he groups our prayers by either size or category. God has answered prayers I had forgotten I even prayed, and those I never uttered aloud, maybe some I never quite formed. Nope, I won’t start my answer about knowing God’s faithfulness because of answered prayer.
How have I experienced God’s faithfulness? Well, I …Not so fast … I am not convinced of God’s faithfulness because I have always had my physical needs met, even though I have. Because what would that mean for those who have not … that he is not faithful? Cannot be, as God cannot deny himself, and surely God’s faithfulness may be the most important thing about him!
How have I experienced God’s faithfulness? Let me get to it. I was moved to think about this subject as I was looking at the many Scripture verses that cite God’s faithfulness, particularly how many times David in the Psalms, talks about it. Hmmm…why was faithfulness so valued by David? Maybe because he (David) was not always faithful, but he was ever thankful and ever mindful that the God he loved was faithful regardless. Because the God he loved, loved him more. David said with joy, “I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”1
How have I experienced God’s faithfulness? Several ways. On a daily basis, I am most grateful for these things—God has shown himself faithful to me through his presence, peace, love, grace and forgiveness. Here's what I mean:
Presence ~ Because the Holy Spirit lives in me, I am never alone; I know and feel God’s nearness. His promise: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”2
Peace ~ In times of greatest pain and worry, God’s supernatural peace has filled me. His promise: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”3 And because I have known his peace, I have been able to honestly and forthrightly share it with others when they so desperately need inner peace and hope.
Love ~ God’s clearest emotional language must surely be love. I mean, how else could you explain his continuing to love wholly unlovable people? The apostle John said that ‘everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God, because God is love. And also, ‘he who does not love does not know God…’4 I know that the love in my life is only because of God. The love I feel and experience from my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my brothers in the corporate world, all of my dear friends and the folks I love and lead … to love and be loved is a gift from God--it comes from above, from the heart of a loving Heavenly Father.5
And you . . . How have you known and experienced the faithfulness of God?
1 – Psalm 89.1
2 – Hebrews 13.5
3 – John 16.33
4 – 1 John 3
5 – James 1.17