God actually honors certain things in our lives. One of the things He honors is faithfulness. Faithfulness reflects His nature. It is one of those areas where we can actually be like God in a very liberated fashion. God gives us faith and the ability to be obedient, but we determine how much we will exercise that faith, and how obedient we will be. God knows how much of this world is pulling us away from faithfulness to Him. So when He sees us go against that tide and do the difficult thing, He is impressed. There are multiple stories in the Bible that reflect this truth, but here is one that just nails it.
The setup is, the people of God have been taken into slavery because of their unfaithfulness. They had been playing games with God for generations, specifically worshiping idols and other gods. God had prophesied that if they lived that lifestyle He would bring in enemies to punish them. This exile is the payoff for their continual life of sin. But even in their enslavement, they had opportunities to do the right or wrong things...
"The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility— young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace—and to teach them the Chaldean language and literature. The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king’s court. Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief official gave them other names: he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah. Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, yet he said to Daniel, 'My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I’m afraid of what would happen if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king.'
So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 'Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king’s food, and deal with your servants based on what you see.' He agreed with them about this and tested them for 10 days. At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.
God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind. At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.(Daniel 1:3-21)
It isn't difficult to be faithful on Sunday morning when the church house is filled with the presence, power, and people of God. The test of faithfulness comes when you are alone, or in a place you do not want to be, surrounded by ungodly elements. Your faithfulness can only be proven when tested, and by obedience. Don't tell me how faithful you are... Show me how faithful you are. James wrote, "Faith without works is useless." (James 2:20)
Faithfulness is defined as - steadfastness in affection or allegiance; firmness in adherence to promises or in observance of duty; given with strong assurance; true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original.
God has always been faithful to me in every test. (I know He has been to you as well.) God gives me the ability to be faithful in every test. The world gives me the opportunity to be faithful in every test. Our faithfulness is a sign to us, to the world, to the enemy, and to God of what we value most.
Today, you can be faithful. In a culture that defines success according to so many things, I want you to know... Faithfulness is success. Say it out loud... "Faithfulness is success." God honors faithfulness... EVERY TIME. Think about that. God honors faithfulness. God is the highest. But He honors some things. When you live a life that is faithful to His will, He honors that. God will never require anything of you He won't bless.
Here is a challenge... What is the world (your boss, your spouse, your friend) requiring of you that you cannot give because it would require you to be unfaithful to God? How are you going to remain faithful? What steps are you going to take to let the other person know, "Hey... I want to do the best I can for you, but I can only do what is best for you as I do what is best for God"?
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.