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Faithfulness: Loyalty to the end

Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10


Rod Handley | Columnist

“This team held together.” This is a common phrase coaches use at the end of a hard-fought game. One head football coach said it this way on the heels of a string of early season losses, “Without really good leaders and a solid group of seniors, this wouldn’t have happened. We could have gone in a hundred different directions when we struggled early on. But instead, they remained faithful to the coaching staff, one another, and the fundamentals we were teaching. These guys will mean a lot to me as long as I’m coaching here because this group had to go through the growing pains of changing everything.” He added, “Now we’re dangerous. We’re a team who can beat just about anybody. The culture is better. Everybody’s having more fun. It’s starting to get right; without this group of seniors, it never could’ve happened.” The secret ingredient for the team’s turnaround was its faithfulness.

Faithfulness: Being thorough in performing my duties; being true to my words, promises, and vows.

The book of Ruth tells about a family relationship enduring hardship. Love and loyalty led Ruth to stay with her mother-in-law (Naomi) when her husband died. Though Ruth and Naomi were from different lands and families, Ruth insisted on staying and modeling faithfulness even though Naomi urged her to return to her people and find another husband. Read Ruth 1:1-18. Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi resulted in a joyous wedding with Boaz, but loyalty to friends and family is valuable even without a happy ending.

Sadly, the virtue of faithfulness is not easily found in today’s world. When things are inconvenient or difficult circumstances arise, many people bail. Unfaithfulness seems to be the norm far too often. In considering faithfulness, Psalm 119:90a reminds us God’s faithfulness continues through all generations when He states, “I have chosen to be faithful.” Certainly, God’s faithfulness is something we can count on. He is absolutely trustworthy in all He has promised.

Loyalty and personal faith go together. Our faith is to be lived out every day of the week in every action we take, every word we speak, and every relationship we make. The measure of a person is not what happens on Sunday at church but who they are Monday through Saturday. Faithfulness is critical in our actions. Being consistent in our character makes people know how we will respond in tough situations. Our witness must be beyond reproach. Trust is at the heart of any good relationship—with God or with others. God has certainly been faithful, holding up His end of the relationship. Are you ready to hold up yours with your team this season?

Daniel Taylor reminded us of the value of faithfulness in our actions, not just words, when he said, “Character is not something you have; it is something you are that inevitably shows itself in what you do. It is determined by the stories of which you are part. As the concept of character makes a highly visible comeback in our public conversation, we must rescue it from glib politicians, do-gooders, and busy-body moralizers.” God is challenging us to pursue faithfulness regardless of the personal cost, the effort required, or the lack of resulting public acclaim.

The verse, “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ no,” is at the heart of what it means to be faithful (James 5:12). A faithful person can be trusted for their word, work, and actions. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus tells the disciples they should be so well known for their integrity that they should never have to take an oath. The oaths of yesterday are the legal contracts of today. We can do almost nothing today without signing a legal contract. Sixty years ago, a handshake was still considered binding because people felt keeping their word was important. Today though, our word means practically nothing to anyone because of a general lack of societal integrity. Faithfulness is not just keeping your word; it is telling the truth. What you say must be true.

The habit of being faithful to our Lord provides clear guidance for daily living. A simple step of faithfulness gives us the confidence to take the next step. Although we may be tempted to say yes to something that may enhance our popularity, we faithfully choose to say no to anything which will compromise our intimacy with God. We trust God’s way is best. Faithfulness enables us to give up what seems good on the surface and patiently wait for what is best.

One of the great promises in Scripture is Lamentations 3:22-23, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” The faithfulness of God is utterly amazing when you consider how disobedient and rebellious we are as humans. As the old classic hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” in the third stanza states, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.” Yet, despite our unfaithfulness, God remains faithful. Praise God for His faithfulness!!

  1. Read Psalm 31:23; Proverbs 3:3-4; Proverbs 13:17; Proverbs 20:6; and Proverbs 28:20. What should be our attitude concerning faithfulness to God? What are the results of faithfulness? What does God promise to His faithful ones?
  2. Would you describe yourself as being faithful in the following environments? Share examples.
    • With your family
    • At school
    • With your friends
    • On your team
    • At church
    • On your job
  1. How do people build loyalty? How do you feel about those who are loyal to you?
  2. Compare faithfulness and success. Do they always occur together? Why or why not?
  3. Yogi Berra said, “When you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad because they’d do the same for you.” Is this true of your team?

This is an excerpt from a 9-volume series of books based on the fruit of the spirit written by Rod Handley and available through www.characterthatcounts.org Rod is the Founder/President of Character that Counts, a ministry established in 2000. He is also the co-founder of a weekly men’s Bible study “Teaching God’s Infinite Wisdom” which has multiple meeting locations in the Greater Kansas City area.


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