Sunday, 15 January 2017

But wait....its not commitment, but rather 'Faithfulness"

Something we have been working through with in the body of Christ is the difficulty for people to commit to something and to continue in it no matter what comes.  We have found people will walk into something believing God has said it, and yet six months down the track, or when difficulty comes, challenges come, offence comes, it doesn't look as they expected, etc. that commitment and belief that God spoke six months earlier is no longer there and we see people walk out of those commitments they once made believing God had spoken.

So does that mean people didn't seek the Lord in the first place?
Did they hear incorrectly?
So does that mean people sought the Lord but now he is saying something different?
So does that mean I have the right to do whatever I like based on how it feels at the time?
If it feels good then I will do it type thing, but if it doesn't then I am gone?

This has been a real struggle for me in leadership as I have found this on a regular basis that people come into the ministry believing this is where God wants them and then they walk out the door when trials and challenges come their way.  If I did this in my marriage I would no longer be married.  Every relationship is challenged, every call of God is tested.

As I have been pondering this and the blog I wrote near the end of last year, I find the word is not commitment but rather the word should be, "faithfulness".

Faithfulness as defined in the Nelsons Bible dictionary as - dependability, loyalty and stability as it describes God in His relationship to human believers.
Faithfulness as defined by 'google' - the quality of being faithful; fidelity.  Synonyms - loyalty, constancy, devotion, trueness, true-heartness, dedication, commitment, allegiance, adherence.
Faithfulness is a fruit of the spirit that the Lord wants to grow in our lives.
Gal 5:22  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."

When Jim and I were called overseas to mission work, there was a phrase that rang in our ears from people as they prepared us for cross cultural mission - "culture shock".
Which means; the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.
Along with this phrase came the expectation that within two years we would 'hit the wall'.  Which meant like in marriage we would get over the 'honeymoon' phase and real life would begin and it would be challenging.

This is often when our 'faithfulness' gets tested - when we are in 'culture shock'.  Its easy to be faithful when things are going well, but when our world views are being challenged, when our culture is being changed, when our attitudes are needing to shift, that is when we really find out where the fruit of faithfulness is in our lives.  

So when Jim and I were told we would 'hit the wall' within two years we decided in our heart right then and there that we would not, because that is not the spirit Christ has given us.  He says, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.  He says we are called to be overcomers.  He says don't worry about tomorrow and that he would give us enough grace for each day.  And although yes we did face challenges and it was not easy at times, and we wanted to come home and give it all away, we committed ourselves to being faithful to the word of God, to what He had called us to that we knew that we knew this was where God wanted us despite come what may.  We decided to 'stand firm and not let anything move us (1 Cor 12)' as was one of the words God had given us before leaving for the mission field.  We learnt what it was to rely on God's strength and not our own as we cried out to him to uphold us in pain when our only daughter at the age of 10 was in a different country away from us, when challenges faced us that threatened our lives, when relationships were being tested.

So I encourage you to let 'faithfulness' be a fruit in the spirit that is cultivated and grown in your life.  To pray to the Lord to help you be an overcomer in the situations you find yourselves in and to cry out to him for the help that you need and not to look to man but to look to the promises and the words that he has given you, that hold you on course for what He has for you.

Matt 7:12 "In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.…"
   Its easy to walk down the path where many follow, and in the current world view that we live in people walk down the path that 'feels good' and does what they want, this is not the path that the Lord has called his followers to be on.  He calls us to faithfulness, he calls us to be overcomers, he calls us to lay down our lives for others which is the narrow gate but it is one that leads to life and life abundantly as we learn to trust him and to know him and His faithfulness toward us!  He is faithful even when we are faithless 😊