Stew on This: How to be Faithful like Jesus (Church Resources)
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
We all need a reminder now and then about the importance of trust and faithfulness, because faithfulness is key to spirituality, relationships, and life. How do we achieve faithfulness? Looking at Jesus’ example is a good start. Faithfulness has taken a hit in our culture. It’s hard to know who or what you can count on anymore. There is a lot of mistrust around. There was a time when a person’s word was their bond. Now it needs to be contractually agreed to and signed in multiple copies with accompanying exception clauses, null and void statements, and liability descriptions. We have all learned to “get it in writing” or else people have convenient memory lapses. Things have gotten to the point where sociologists have referred to this generation as “the generation that wants to keep their options open, the non-joiners, and the commitment-free generation.”
Faithfulness is loyalty, dependability, reliability, and a firm and unchanging attachment to a person or idea. The word assumes there will be challenges to the loyalty – time may make it fade. There may be disappointments, setbacks, even danger. Faithfulness means keeping your word no matter what! It is the foundation of trust and trust is the cornerstone of relationships.
Look at John 17, at what’s often called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. On His final night before going to the cross, Jesus prayed for His followers. “After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed, ‘Father, the time has come, glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him. Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do,’” (John 17:1-4, NIV).
There’s one big indicator of faithfulness on Jesus’ part: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” What was that work? It was to reveal the Father to the world. It was to call men and women into relationship with Him. By word and action, He did what He said He would do.
Jesus was faithful not only to His Father, but to His friends. He hand-selected men. He fed them, developed them, encouraged them, prayed for them, challenged them, forgave them, and served them. And it cost Him. It cost Him many nights’ sleep as He agonized in prayer for them; it cost Him His reputation to be associated with unlearned and unsophisticated men; it cost Him time and energy to bring them along when He could have done it faster and easier by Himself; it cost Him heartache when they disappointed and doubted Him. And ultimately, of course, it would cost Him His life.
But He never quit on them; He never stopped believing in them. In the end, He delivered each one safely into His Father’s hands (except Judas, who refused to be saved, just as the Scripture predicted). And after the resurrection—after they failed Him—He called them together and assured them of His continuing love and care. “Surely I am with you always,” He said, “even to the end of the age.”
The most amazing thing is that Jesus makes that same commitment to you and me. Listen to the end of His prayer in John 17:20, 24, “My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message… Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.”
How to be Faithful like Jesus:
The Bible tells us that Jesus will continue to intercede on our behalf, until the day He brings us safely into His eternal Kingdom. That’s faithfulness. That’s keeping your word. It is an example of faithfulness we can take comfort in and follow.