‘I do not pray for success. I pray for faithfulness.” (Mother Theresa)
What does this mean?
It means following hard after God; having radical loyalty, and covenantal commitment to God, first, above all other relationships and commitments. It means remaining true to Gods word, our own word, and persevering in trials or storms. Christian faithfulness is, at its heart, about our commitment to accept, believe in and commit to the God of the Bible as the one true God, and attempt to live out his commandments (the Jesus Lifestyle).
It means pursuing His plan and purpose with intentionality, and investing our time, talents and resources to that journey. It means following his path with unshakable and unbreakable stick-to-it-iveness, even when it counter-cultural to do so.
Being faithful to God’s calling
Being faithful to God’s message
Being faithful to God’s leading in your life
And trusting that God is faithful in all things
Christianity itself is based first on faith that God is, and then, that through Christ Jesus we can be forgiven, made righteous, and redeemed. Faithfulness is essential to the Christian life, it is named as a fruit of the Spirt by Paul (Gal 5:22) and credited as righteousness to Abram (Gen15:6, Rom 4:22). Jesus puts faithfulness alongside justice and mercy and ‘the more important matters of the law’ (Matthew 23:23)
The whole of the Bible calls us to a radical lifestyle and a radical faithfulness which is totally counter-cultural. It changes our perspective of what success looks like, and shifts our vision and focus to one driven by Kingdom goals. Under our own strength the inner transformation is not possible; the lifestyle and the standards are impossible; but ‘what is impossible for mankind, is made possible with God’ (Luke 18:27).
So let’s be like Mother Theresa and ask God to grant us faithfulness; then radically pursue it!
Discipleship is not an occasional rendezvous with Deity; it is an actual dwelling with and dependence on God! (Billy Graham)
What does this mean?
It means that we trust in, or depend on God for our very existence (Acts 17:28, Colossians 1:16-17), for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), for wisdom (James 1:5); it means that we depend on God for everything (Psalm 104:27) and in everything (Proverbs 3:5-6). In fact the Psalmist goes so far as describing God as "my rock, my fortress and my deliverer” (Psalm 18:2).
Depending on God however does not mean we act foolishly. Jesus did not need to jump off the pinnacle of the temple to “prove” that he depended on God (Matthew 4:5-7). There is a difference between trusting God and putting God to the test. As disciples we should seek wisdom and direction from God, and follow the path he has set; using the gifts that he gives us in God-honouring ways, knowing ultimately that any good thing ultimately has it source in God.
It means being constant in prayer and always yielding our thoughts, motives, needs and desires to the Lord. It means building understanding of his nature, and a deep personal relationship with him through daily reading of his word. It means trusting in his plans, and surrendering our plans to him. It means looking to him as our Heavenly Father, totally dependent on him for our well being.
Total submission and reliance on God is counter intuitive. However as we mature in relationship with God, as we mature as disciples, our vision and experience of God will become clearer, he will become bigger, and we will begin to realise that it is only through total dependence him that we can truly experience peace.