A few months ago I had the privilege of teaching our ladies group about faithfulness. We were looking at the God qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit (found in Galatians 5:22,23) We determined that faith and faithfulness are not the same, the first precedes the latter. Faith is a firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth. Faith is the assurance in our heart and mind of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1) Though not directly in front of us, we visualize what God intends to do in a given situation (according to His Word)and faithfulness is acting in harmony with it. It is not fantasy or pretending, it is taking what we know of God and applying HIM to our circumstance.
Faith is our reception of God’s word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Ro. 10:17) Faithfulness is our response to His word. We live our life in such a way, clearly declaring a firm assurance, God is Who He said He is and will DO what He says He will do. Our actions convey that we truly …BELIEVE Him! Faith in relationships, is confidence in the person’s character and motives and the task we have entrusted to them. Do we trust God’s character and His motives? Do we trust Him with our care and our very lives?
Now keep tracking with me…
We all have us some BAGGAGE don’t we? Emotional and even spiritual baggage. Baggage full of memories of our past that hold us captive, baggage that weighs us down with guilt, and baggage full of doubt and worry. For some of us we packed our bags with deceit done to us and the pain tucked in the side pockets. Baggage.
Solomon wrote “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven …a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.” (Ecc. 3:1,6 emphasis mine) Some of us need to crack open the bags and throw away! Paul strongly states, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self … be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:22,24 – see also Col.3:8-9, 1 Jn. 1:9) What you once were, in the past… no longer fits and frankly is extremely out of date and style! SO, why carry it around with you! God wants us to unpack our bags, empty out all hidden compartments (Sounds so ‘007’ agent like) dumping the bags and exchange them for a life of faith. Those muscles and energy used for carrying all the stuff, will now be used and spent for JESUS!
I shared all this WHILE holding a clear handled box filled with ‘Yes’ pieces of paper. I carried it as I walked back and forth teaching. Emphasizing instead of all the icky baggage, we set it all aside, AND walk away! Each time a circumstance comes our way or the memories of the past attempt to invade our thoughts, we ‘YES’ (we don’t just ‘say’ yes, we YES in attitude, behavior and life style) to believing God is Who He said He is and will do what He promises to do, our box filling with God. And the meaning behind the transparent box? We want others see our ‘yes’ to Him, encouraging them too to unpack, walk away and YES Jesus.
Is this all easy? Not for a second! It is only with the help of Holy Spirit’s grace and work in our lives. My hubby said there may be duplicate ‘Yeses’ because we tend to lay down and then run back and dig through the stuff again. SO true! Even so, keep yes(ing) soon with God’s help the stuff will grow way to old, we WILL walk away (and stay away.)
Paul, the guy who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen as he preached the Good News, after Paul’s revelations of Jesus, said: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14) THAT is some great unpacking!
Faithfulness, our response to God and His word. Living a life filled with YES!Clearly declaring a firm assurance, God is Who He said He is and will DO what He says He will do.
“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” (Unknown)
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” ascends to God for His glory.” (2 Cor. 1:20)
Bags down. Walking away. AMEN! Living in Christ. YES!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)