When Faith Becomes Faithful

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FROM THE MIND OF WEBSTER

Faith – something that is believed, especially with strong conviction, even when there is no proof.

Faithful – having or showing true and constant support or loyalty, keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do.

BACKSTORY – DANIEL AND HIS THREE AMIGOS

Faithfulness – Not Open To Compromise

Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. (Daniel 1:3-16)

Faithfulness – Not Contingent Upon Results

At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? [I]f you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:8-18)

Faithfulness – Not Overcome By Conflict

Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:3-5)

Faithfulness – Not Altering Our Consistency

The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Daniel 6:6-10)

My Musings

Context – Perhaps it is best to put the stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into some context. They were forcibly moved from the Holy city of Jerusalem to Babylon, a city that came to be known for its decadence. From the familiar to the unfamiliar. From being surrounded by family to being separated from family. From witnessing the sack of Jerusalem and questioning where was God, to the excesses of Babylon and questioning where is God.

Circumstances – It is unlikely any of us have faced such harsh and unsettling circumstances as Daniel and his three amigos. Yet, we all have our own “Babylon” (our workplace, our schools, or when we are away on a business trip or on vacation) where God might seem distant. We all face circumstances in “Babylon” that might not necessarily test our faith, but that does test our faithfulness. Under such circumstances, we might find ourselves compromising our values, making choices that are contingent upon the outcome rather than whether it is right or wrong, being worn down by spiritual conflict or becoming inconsistent in our walk

Compromise – It is easy to not compromise on the big things, but maybe not so much if it seems to be “such a little thing,” or “maybe just this once.” But how often do little things become big things and how often does once become a habit? At such times, we should remember God’s promise of faithfulness to us (1 Corinthians 10:13) and remain faithful to him without compromise.

Contingent – It is easy to be faithful when the expected outcome is favorable. But when it is not, just how faithful are we? At such times, we should remember God’s promise of working all things to the good (Romans 8:28) and not let our faithfulness be contingent upon the results.

Conflict – It is easy to be faithful in a life void of conflict. But conflict, persecution and trials are a given in the Christian life. Sometimes they come even when our persecutors cannot “find any basis for charges against [us] unless it has something to do with the law of [our] God.” At such times, we must take heart as ultimate overcomers (John 16:33) of the conflict and remain faithful in the immediate conflicts.

Consistent – It is easy to be faithful when there is consistency in our lives. But how consistent is our faithfulness when life throws us a curve and things get a bit inconsistent? At such times, learning the secret of being content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13) very well could be the secret to being consistent at all times.

My Advice

Faithfulness is a rare commodity these days, whether we are talking about marriages, friendships, employment, etc…  Yet God is always faithful to us.  Doesn’t He deserve the same from us?  Be faithful to whatever it is that God has called you to.

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