Faithfulness matters most
WORKWISE, FEBRUARY 2022
Here comes success!
A series of biblical paradigms for rethinking success
Part 8. Faithfulness matters most.
In the economy of God’s Kingdom, faithfulness is the ace that wins every time. The Lord is always faithful in his promises, and as his people, there is nothing more defining than our faithfulness to him. But faithfulness is never abstract, it starts with a heart commitment and evolves into a life-changing force as we grow in awareness of sin and our desire to please our Father in heaven.
In Jeremiah 9 we read: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom nor the strong boast of their strength nor the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. All this talk of boasting is a test of what we really value and where we find our security. There’s nothing wrong with wisdom, strength or riches—God can give them to anyone he chooses—but if these become where we find our identity, they will prove weak foundations. Knowing God is the only foundation worth building life upon.
Paul takes it a step further in Ephesians 5:8-9, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” What he describes here is a total change of our being. Once darkness, now light! And this change will always translate into new fruit—goodness, righteousness, and truth—which reflect the heart of God described in Jeremiah 9!
The Bible doesn’t envisage a life unchanged by salvation. And that change should always result in us desiring to see the values of God’s heart manifest not just in our lives, but in the world where we live.
But change is hard, and we are all deeply influenced by the cultures where we live. Like apocryphal frogs in the saucepan, we never notice the temperature of the water around us until it is too late. Similarly, we find it hard to discern how much of our surrounding culture we have bought into in place of the values of God’s heart. We need help. The Holy Spirit and the people of God are God’s gifts to help us change from the inside out, to help us perceive the way our lives are less-than-godly. If you want to live for the glory of God in ways which transcend the doors of church buildings and reach into the world, then find like-minded believers who can challenge you, pray with you, and give you supportive accountability.
What will faithfulness look like in your life? Don’t be fooled by the bright lights, the Rolex watches, the 2 million followers, the appearance of success. These bright lights distract us from the living God who was treated as a criminal and rejected by those he came to save. To walk with Jesus rarely leads to lofty career heights—though it may—but it will always lead to a richness of life beyond compare as we participate in the work of God in his world, bearing the fruit of goodness, righteousness and truth in every context.
Finally, remember, faithfulness is not about getting it right every time, whatever that means; it is also about recognising when we’ve screwed up and turning back to the Lord with broken hearts and unbroken hope. David, for example, committed adultery and had his lover’s husband killed, yet is still described as having the “very heart of God”! That surely is an obituary any of us would be proud of.