Summary: Part 3 in the series.
Preparation For Promotion Part 3: Test of Faithfulness
So far in this series, we have talked about the test of trusts and security. In the tests of trust and security, we learned the importance of trusting in God and being secure in who we are through Christ – regardless of what the world may tell us. We do not have to prove our worth to anyone for our worth comes through Christ. We are who God says we are, not who man says we are. In this message we will look at the third test, the test of faithfulness. When we look at our foundational Scripture found in Ephesians 4:13-15, it says: “….until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (NIV) I want to stress to you now that we are to be growing in Christ. Our growth enables us to mature so that we can stand in the face of adversity. But in order to experience this growth and mature, we must pass the test of faithfulness.
I. The Test of Faithfulness
I want to give us a framework to set the stage for the point in this message. How many times have we set a goal only to get tired before reaching it and quit? This could have been a financial goal, weight loss goal, a change of attitude, etc. How many times have we made promises to ourselves or to someone else that we would do something and then we fail to do it? How many times have we started out with great intentions only to grow tired and not complete the task? How many times have we said “God told me to do so and so” only to quit when the times got hard? How many times have stood up in support of starting something new but when it grew routine and did not hold our attention, we gave it up? How many times has our physicians told us to stop eating certain foods or get more exercise and we start out great only to stop and go back to our old routine? How many times, how many times, how many times? If you are like me, you have a long list of things that you started out doing only to stop before you finished the task. The worst case is not when we tell ourselves we are going to do something and not do it, but when we make promises to others and then do not fulfill them. Every time we do this, we fail the test of faithfulness. You see, our faithfulness to God comes out not only in what we do or don’t do in our individual ministries of service to Him, but also in our daily interactions with others. If we cannot be faithful to those whom we interact with everyday, we will not be faithful to God either.
How many times have we given up on God just when we were about to receive our blessing? Paul made a statement in Philippians 4:11 that I think is something we need to consider when we think of our faithfulness. Here is what he said; “Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” (Amp) A few verses later he says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you consider your faithfulness, one of the first signs that will always be present is how content you are. How at peace are you with yourself, with your surroundings and with your circumstances. When you are not at peace, it is hard to be faithful. Being faithful means that you will be loyal and reliable regardless of the circumstances and situations you face. So if we find ourselves shifting with the waves, we find ourselves failing the test of faithfulness. Paul understood that within Christ he could do all things, not some things, but all things. With this understanding, Paul was able to be content in every situation he found himself in. When he was with the brethren praising God, he was content. When he was preaching, he was content. When he was being beaten and put in jail, he found contentment because of his faith in God. Will our faithfulness get us through the rough days as Paul’s faith did for him?