God is always faithful. I am not.
Behind God’s faithfulness is His unfailing, unconditional love. God loves us, and so God holds on to us, even when we are unfaithful.
Behind our faithfulness is our love for God. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Our love for God and for others is, unfortunately, not unfailing and unconditional. Our fallen sin nature gets in the way, and sometimes we are selfish. Utterly selfish. Sinfully selfish.
An utterly selfish man married a loving, giving wife. Just a few days into the marriage, he gave her a list of chores he expected to be done every day when he got home from work. The house was to be cleaned. Dinner was to be cooking. His newspaper and slippers were to be arranged neatly at his chair. She was to be neatly dressed with makeup in place and fresh clothing. Everything had to be just so.
The wife did each chore every day because it turned out the man had an ugly temper. But she grew to hate that list. Finally, the utterly self-absorbed man left her and chased another woman.
After a time of healing the woman met another man. This man was kind and loving. He respected her and treated her well. They were married, and began to make a life together.
One day, several months into the new marriage, the wife moved a couple of magazines on an end table and something fell to the floor. It was the list. The list of chores she was required to do for her first husband. Immediately anger and fear welled up inside her as she picked up the dreaded list. But as she looked at it, she realized something. She was doing everything on the list for her new husband, without even thinking about it. She was serving him because she loved him.
Faithfulness to God comes from the best and truest place when it comes from our love for Him. The more we are filled with the self-giving love of Jesus, the more we love—freely and joyfully. The more we love Him. And the more we love others.
Love changes obedience into a gift. When love is the driver, there is no clenched-teeth obedience because we must. There is joyful faithfulness to God’s commands because we want to.
Because of the Cross. Because of forgiveness. Because of new life. Because of answers to prayer. Because of God’s blessings, we love Him. And because we love Him, we want to honor Him. The stronger the love, the greater the faithfulness.
And here is the best of all. God’s list of commandments is not given to us for His benefit. The commands of God are given to us for our benefit. Receiving grace and living holy lives to honor Jesus bring us the joy and purpose we were meant to live in as image-bearers of the living God. The best way to a joy-filled, satisfying life is to live out loving faithfulness to God by the grace of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I want to strive for that. How about you?