In I Timothy 6:11, Paul encourages the young preacher to feel carnality and worldliness, encouraging him to seek after things like meekness, patience, and faith. Then, in II Timothy 2:22, Paul calls on Timothy to flee youthful lusts but to rather pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Then, in Galatians 5 draws a contrast between the fruits of the world and the fruits of the spirit, and verse 22 describes these good fruits as peace, love, and faithfulness. Having faith and being faithful repeatedly appear as necessary elements to our godly walk.
The Necessity of Faith
We understand the importance of faith from passages like Hebrews 11:6 that tell us we cannot please God without having faith in Him and being faithful to Him. I Timothy 4:12 records Paul calling on Timothy to be an example of faith. James 2 draws a contrast between the shallow faith of demons and the active faith of true believers. John 12:42 tells of those who believed in Jesus but would not profess their faith. In Matthew 6, during the sermon on the mount, Jesus speaks to our basic trust in God leading up to verse 30. Our faith defines our lives, motivates our actions, and informs every decision we make. This is complete faith.
How do we grow this faith?
- Romans 10:17 reminds us that faith comes from our exposure to God’s word, by teaching and by study.
- Returning to James 2, verse 23 exemplifies Abraham as one who practiced his faith, whose experiences served to strengthen the faith he put into action.
- In Matthew 9:24, a man seeking Jesus’ intervention cries out to Him to, “Help my unbelief.” Prayer is another avenue for developing faith. Wisdom comes from asking.
We should be doing more reading and studying. We should be living our faith more actively. We should be asking for God to strengthen our faith.
A Dependable Faith
Where having faith is a living testimony of our belief in God, being faithful as God is faithful implies reliability and dependability. I Thessalonians 5:23-24, II Thessalonians 3:3, Hebrews 10:23, Hebrews 11:11 – these passages and more emphasize God’s faithfulness. We can rely on Him. We can depend on Him. If we are living to emulate the qualities we see in His nature, He should likewise be able to depend upon us.
The ultimate sign of God’s faithfulness is in the resurrection of Christ. In Psalm 16:10, the psalmist prophecies that God’s holy one will not see corruption. There is a difference between Jesus, being alive and well, raising others from the dead and Jesus going Himself to death, trusting in the Father to raise Him up on the third day. How then do we commit ourselves better to our faith?
- Our duty as Christians. II Timothy 2:21 describes us as set apart and useful to God’s work, and I Thessalonians 1:2-3 speaks to our endurance, our steadfastness, and our love in doing God’s work.
- The spread of the gospel. I Peter 3:15 calls us to be prepared to speak about our faith, and II Timothy 2:15 calls on us to be diligent in our preparation to share God’s word.
- Being Good Stewards. The parable of the wedding feats, the parable of the talents – these illustrate the faithfulness and reliability we should have with our resources and opportunities in this life.
Not only should God be able to rely on us, but our fellow Christians should see us as equally dependable. Hebrews 11:39-40 admonishes us that all those who came before us depend on us to continue the work they have started. When we are unfaithful in our service, we invalidate the efforts of our predecessors. When we are faithful, however, we create an unbroken chain between those assembled on the Day of Pentecost and those we pass God’s work to who will come after us.
Can God count on us? Can the saints count on us? We should be working daily to develop our faith in God and our faithfulness to God. We trust in Him so much. We depend on Him to fulfill us, to redeem us, to save us. The question to us is simple: Can He depend on us?
lesson by Tim Smelser