On Faithfulness

“Faithful. 1. Adhering strictly to the person, cause, or idea to which one is bound; dutiful and loyal…. Synonyms: loyal, true, constant steadfast… devoted, trustworthy. These adjectives mean firm and unchanging in attachment to a person, case, or the like. Faithful in particular suggest long and undeviating attachment… Constant stresses absence of change and thus lack of fickleness… Devoted implies dedication to a person or cause and consequent lavishing of time or attention.” Friends should be faithful and loyal, not betraying one another, of course, but also not neglecting each other. A true friend remains constant, despite intervening time, distance, and new acquaintances. Spouses promise to remain faithful by avoiding intimate physical and emotional ties to anyone else. Promiscuity before marriage, and adultery afterwards, make marital love impossible. Parents and children expect loyalty from each other, and rightly so, for a bond of blood joins them forever. Marriage will weaken the tie, because the claims of one’s spouse must precede those of one’s parents, but respect, affection, and mutual care and concern will never disappear. Faithful people honor contracts and even verbal commitments. They do not switch allegiances for convenience or gain. They do not needlessly dilute their attention by multiplying new relationships, each one more shallow than the last. How rare is this quality of faithfulness! How few of us know the depth of love and trust that results from a long-term commitment! After all, faithfulness takes work. It’s hard, especially when we irritate each other, or disappoint each other, or find ourselves living hundreds of miles away. Without regular prayer and communication, ties weaken. Not to mention the plethora of new “friends” and opportunities that come our way in this mobile society. Novelty attracts; there’s something exciting, fresh, and even thrilling about it. Old friends, even a life-long spouse, can seem dull, boring, and unsatisfying. Perhaps this new one will fulfill what is lacking – for every relationship does fail to fill the aching void in our restless souls. But there is no substitute for sticking with the same person year after year. Working through conflict; facing the reality of our limitations; learning how to forebear and forgive; developing patience and steadfastness; and finally enjoying the fruit of unwavering loyalty – it’s worth the trouble! After all, isn’t God like that? He chose Israel, and would not let her go. “His steadfast love endures forever!” was Israel’s constant song, especially when she mediated on her own fickle folly. Though the Lord disciplined His people severely, He did not abandon them. Always, He sought them and wooed them to Himself. Finally He sent His only Son to secure the allegiance of our hearts by His blood and the indwelling Spirit. Nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Amen, the true one, always faithful. To know this faithful Savior is to want to be like Him, especially when a new “love” allures us.