Faithfulness: Am I Still on the Road to Heaven?
A young man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated, which involved removing it from the frame. The studio owner started this project and noticed some writing on the back of the photograph. It read:
My Dearest Tom,
I love you with all my heart. I love you more
and more each day. I will love you forever and
ever. I am yours for all eternity.
P.S. If we ever break up, I want this picture back.
Those of us who have been baptized into Christ, who have put on Christ, who have professed our love for God, belong to our Savior. There can be no “P.S.” in our lives given to God. We are not given the privilege of breaking up with Him. We are His and belong to Him forever. Is it not our purpose and mission to be faithful?
The prospect of our faithfulness and loyalty to God and His church gives us a great deal of Responsibility. God should be able to depend upon every Christian who desires to be a worker for Him. It is a matter of carrying out the vow one has made to be a Christian.
Hebrews 11.6 defines and demonstrates faithfulness as diligently seeking God. There is not a question about direction and purpose. The responsibility is understood as it was with Joshua (Joshua 24.15), Daniel (Daniel 6.7,9-10), marriage partners (Matthew 19.5-6), and the apostles (John 6.66-68). Then there is Revelation 2.10. To the Christian, there is no command or admonition in scripture that conveys such responsibility and meaning as “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Responsibility in christ has no time limit after which it is acceptable to cease being faithful. There are no vacations, leaves of absence, breaks, pauses, or times away. Faithfulness is at all times, in all places, with all people, and in all circumstances. A Christian may not understand how much faithfulness he or she has until pressure and trials come. Responsible faithfulness is tested every day: When your boss wants you to work overtime; when your spouse says, “I’m not going to church with you anymore;” when your children never become Christians; or when your friend says, “Don’t go to church tonight. Let’s go to a movie.” You are never free from testing of your faith. Therefore, that phrase in Revelation 2.10, “until death,” is often a longer period of time than some expect. It is the purpose for faithfulness which keeps us responsible: “And I will give thee a crown of life.”
Faithfulness has so much to do with Resolve. The process of faithfulness is not complete just by announcing and naming one’s commitment to obey. It is the resolve to stay saved. It is more than desire, it is action - a way of life. Day after day, year after year, we are marching to Zion - beautiful, beautiful Zion.
It is so easy to make a commitment to God when the invitation is given, especially when you are surrounded by the faithful. The question faithfulness must answer is, “Am I ready for persecutions?” Persecutions will come (2 Timothy 3.12). The source of them may be strange (i.e., family, friends), but these trials of dislike and mockery are an index of your faithfulness. They are trying to push you off the road which leads to heaven. Are you ready for someone to slap your faith, criticize where you worship, roll their eyes at your purity, or call you names because you tell them no?
We may not ever have someone point a gun at us and ask us if we believe in God or beat us because we worship, but faith is being picked apart every day by spouses, coworkers, and friends who isolate you, ignore you, or refuse to promote you, hire you, or do business with you. Do you have the faithful resolve for those moments?
Faithfulness encounters disappointments when people who profess faithfulness walk away from Jesus (John 6.60). Demas walked away (2 Timothy 4.10) and forsook Paul when he was a prisoner in Rome. Those disappointments could defeat us or turn us away from believing and standing upon the promises of God (Hebrews 13.5-6). Hopefully, that will not be the case for you.
Temptations will knock on faith’s door every day. Some of the same ones keep calling, asking, wanting, persuading, and appearing. Like the sexual advances by Potiphar’s wife upon Joseph (Genesis 39.9), or the offering of the king’s food and drink to Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1.8). Even Jesus was hit from every angle with temptations (Hebrews 4.15). No matter the type or frequency of temptation, we need faithful resolve not to yield to the numbers of persecutions, disappointments, or temptations we will face.
With all our faithfulness will encounter, it is essential we have Resources. Hebrews 10.24, Galatians 6.1-2, and Ephesians 4.16 vividly express the resources faithfulness needs. It is in relationships with people striving like you with a common faith. They build you up, and you build them up with the desire of being closer to God, passionate for righteousness and resistant to immoral thoughts or deeds. Resources for faithfulness are found in the body of Christ among those who love the Lord. Godly associates can make the difference. There is no special mystery to faithfulness. It is simply a matter of exhortation (Hebrews 13.3).
One great resource for faithfulness is scripture. When you read Psalm 119.11,104,133, you will find the Bible as your greatest faithful resource (John 15.10; 2 Timothy 3.14-15). It is a treasure, a wealth of knowledge, counsel, and wisdom.
If we ever become unfaithful, it will never be because God, His word, or the church failed to be faithful. It will be because we did not reach up to responsibility, make a resolve, or tap into spiritual resources. “Be thou faithful.”