If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.2Ti 2:13
Faithfulness is a character trait of God. That’s just the way he is. The passage in second Timothy tells us that if we disown him, he disowns us. But he will always be faithful.
What does that mean for us? I want to become like God, display his character. Finally grow into my calling and destiny. My destiny: to fully portray the image I was created in.
Therefore I cannot but be faithful.
Yesterday, we had our 27th anniversary – in German we call it Hochzeitstag, wedding day. Now, that does not mean that I have been married 27 times – it means, as unbelievable as that is in our times, that Christina and I have been married for 27 years. With ups and downs, happiness and tragedy, rejoicing and bad times, joy and tears. But with one ingredient: faithfulness.
But what does faithfulness mean?
I start with English: Full of faith. Nough said.
Faithfulness in the Greek is pistos. This means trustworthy, but also trustful, faithful, devoted, full of faith. It’s the same stem as pistis. Believe, Faith. In little things – I believe, it will rain tomorrow – and big things – I have faith in Jesus and his finished work. I have faith in you. The verb behind this is peitho: to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): — agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield (Strong’s g3982).
In Hebrew we find the word aman. It means to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain (Strong’s h539). But also to go to the right hand, to take the right road.
These last translations tell us where we find help. From the right hand of God, his authority. Or from the one at his right – Jesus Christ.
The noun means: expert, artist, the one with a steady hand. But we mainly know it from the word Amen: That is the way it is, I accept it. To be faithful is to say Amen to the other.
Latin: fidelis. Faithful, upright, steady, lasting, devoted, believing, secure, competent, loyal, dead reliable, honest.
In German, we abused this word. Fidel has become to mean jolly. And a jolly lifestyle today does not usually include that one ingredient: faithfulness.
Let’s stay with German to finish this language study. These two words stem from the same root: faithful and trustworthy, treu and vertrauen.
Trust. Isn’t that where faithfulness leads to? I trust my partner in many aspects because I know her to be faithful and – even more important – full of faith. In God and me. How could she be faithful towards God and not me?
Faithfulness encompasses much more than sexuality. Jesus said – in regards of money – that he can not entrust us with the real riches if we cannot steward worldly mammon faithfully. I am going to enlarge that paradigm. If we are faithless in external, natural, bodily things, how can God entrust us with the supernatural?
Sex has a destiny: one man and one woman to become one. How can this happen if faithfulness does not have its part? In German, the phrase a promise of faithfulness (Treueversprechen) is used synonymous for marriage, a wedding vow. This promise and cashing in on it are essential to cash in on the real joy, the supernatural riches as well. Especially as a couple.
Was I faithful? In many aspects. For sure the ones that usually come to mind. But some words in the above lists made me think. To build up and support somebody. To be quiet at times. Years ago: to be honest.
May I say: God has led me a wonderful path – together with a wonderful wife. But that path is not finished, I have not yet reached my destiny. I am thankful for the past, for all we attained in these 27 years – but I do not want to stay here.
What a hope: Jesus did it all on the cross. We only have to believe and walk it out. Put differently: trust him, be devoted to him, always be there for him, and look for help at the right hand of God. He is faithful. Are we?
And all this help to faithfulness we can claim for other areas of our lives as well: faithfulness towards church, work, friends, family, even myself.