Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chapter 5 - Faithfulness

  $ Galatians 5:22-26 and Colossians 3:12

Faithfulness:  Allegiance to a person, loyalty, complete trust and devotion.

Devotion:  Being so familiar with someone or something, your constant full attention is given to that someone or something, making a ‘close bond.’ An intimate knowledge on someone or something.
 This makes me think of the song ‘All in All’ where it talks about how God is your strength when you are weak, the treasure that you seek, when we run dry he fills our cups, when we are down he lifts us up….and so on.  Do you pursue God like that? Is God someone that you have such a fire for that no one can turn eyes away from his amazing glory.  When you want something, really really want something most times we will stop at nothing to attain it, do we pursue God with that kind of passion?
   Let’s define an ‘intimate knowledge’ of something or someone.

Knowledge:  the Greek word to ‘know’ means to have a knowledge that perfectly unites the subject with the object.
In other words, it’s a person being so familiar with another person that they can predict (or almost predict) what the other person is about to do next.

Intimacy: inner most, marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity.  (Having intimacy is have ‘knowledge’ of one close to you)
   I find to better understand this it is required to look at God’s faithfulness to us.
(Verses 1-8 talk about how Israel is the chosen nation, and how all the other nations shall fail):

Deuteronomy 7:9-10: “Therefore, know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps a covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep his commandments; “and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them.  He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. 

   So right here this verse says that God is a faithful God to his people, and he is even faithful in his promises to destroy the people who deny and refuse him.  God is a God of his word.
Now the Psalms are just filled with praise of God’s faithfulness, mercy, love, and so on…but we are only going to look at one in this chapter.

Psalm 103: 1-14 (This is a Psalm of David):  Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your inequities, who heals your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies  your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.  He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to children of Israel.  The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.   He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers we are dust.   (Please read the whole chapter 103 on your own it is very powerful)

   This passage is just such a shining light of hope for me, it talks about what a loving God he is and talks about how consistent he is, especially in his faithfulness.  I think it too shows his deep understanding, where it says that he “knows our frame and remembers we are dust.” What a beautiful picture of him remembering that he formed us from the dust of the ground and that we can be fragile, which is why I love how it talks about in Jeremiah 31:3 how God is gentle in his pursuit of us.  And I love how in Psalm 139:13 it paints a picture of how he never lacks understanding of who we are, he knows us with such a deep intimate knowledge that we cannot say he doesn’t know what we need, we need to face up to the fact that we are the ones who truly don’t know what we need. 
   I am so thankful that God is not like us humans in the ways we hold grudges against each other and struggle to forgive (even for the smallest things) it shames me sometimes when I think of people who grate my cheese every time I see them, and I have to ask myself, for what?  That’s when I realize that I am still holding onto a past wrong that I just need to grow up and let go of.   I am so relieved and thankful that God is not like that at all, his mercies are fresh and new every morning.  He is ready and wanting to give us another chance!

Lamentations 3:22-25: Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore, I hope in Him!”  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

   And lastly God even tells us that he knows what he is doing and tells us that he is faithful to us especially when we call on him.

Jeremiah 29:11-14:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.   Then shall you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.   And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found of you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord,  and I will bring to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

   As we look at God’s faithful character, we have to ask ourselves: if he is so faithful to me, why is it so difficult for me to be faithful to him and what he has called me to do?  I have to ask myself that all the time, there are times where I am struggling to stay faithful to finish writing this study, but I keep pushing myself to do it.  Even though I have fallen behind in my posting dates I am going to push through this to the end, because God has always been faithful through the big things in my life, why shouldn’t I be faithful in the small things of him?

   We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God; think about it this way, why would God require us to be faithful to him, because he knows that if we don’t have a part in the up-keep of our relationship with him, we will grow lazy and slowly drift away from him. (Please read: Hebrews 11:6)  And the farther away we are from his presence the harder it is for us to come back to him.  So not only is it a respectful thing to do in our intimate relationship with him, but also the healthier thing to do.  I hope to later on do a study of the armor of God, in order to study how we can prepare ourselves for the battles we face every day. For now let me say this, we need to fight for our relationship with our almighty God who so faithfully and lovingly pursued us even when we turned our back on him, he has our best interest in mind and we need to fight for that.  We need to fight by consistently going into the word and praying, being quiet in his presence and surrounding ourselves with the fruit of the spirit and people so support us in our fight.
In Psalm 63 it shows us exactly what a faithful relationship to Christ looks like, please read the entire chapter on your own for it is a very powerful passage.

Now in conclusion the Bible tells us to do this:
2 Peter 1:5-11: But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,  to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.   For if these things be yours and abound, you will be neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.   Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

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