Beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
"And the Lord said, 'Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household..." (St. Luke 12:42)
"Therefore, holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house...And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant..." (Hebrews 3:1-5)
A faithful person is trustworthy and reliable. Some people make faithfulness a hallmark of their human relationships, but the faithfulness that matters to an Orthodox Christian is the faithfulness we show toward God.
The All-Merciful God is faithful. He does what He promises to do. Moreover, because God is faithful, we dare have courage to trust Him and His promises. "He is faithful that promised" (Hebrews 10:23). "Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens: and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds" (Psalm 36:5). "Thy faithfulness is unto all generations..." (Psa. 119:90).
We commit ourselves to our Heavenly Father in spite of unfair or evil circumstances. We do God's will the best we can because we trust our faithful Creator to set all things right in His time and way. "Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right" (1 Peter 4:19).
We find strength to be faithful to God because God is faithful in dealing with us.
Faithfulness is one characteristic of what the Holy Apostle Paul calls the "fruit" of Holy Spirit. Saint Paul refers to various qualities as a singular fruit because there is only one Spirit which exercises a unified and consistent effect upon believers in Jesus Christ. What is the effect of the Holy Spirit in believers? God's Spirit always works to transform those who are begotten by it so that they progressively and characteristically act more like God.
Faithfulness is one of those God-like traits. God is faithful, and we appreciate the effect His faithfulness has on us: we can rely upon Him. Because we appreciate reliability in others, we begin trying to be more reliable ourselves.
The characteristics Saint Paul describes are attainable because God fills us with sufficient love so as to live like Him. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22, 23).
As Christian believers, we meditate about God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those thoughts reveal to us ways in which we can begin obeying them more completely, thus "abiding" in Christ, our true vine (St. John 15). As we study and commune with God we find ourselves even more intent upon being like Him, living like Him, and exercising our faith in action as Jesus did. That is why Saint Paul describes the fruit of the spirit as growing in us in proportion as we walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh. Simply put, if you want to please God then live your life so as to please Him, and not yourself.
When two people get married they expect one another to remain faithful. Faithfulness is a part of the marriage contract. So also with God. Faithfulness is not an option we choose. God expects us to be faithful to Him, and He seeks men and women of faith who will live so as to consistently carry out His Will. "And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind..." (1 Sam. 2:35).
We show God our faithfulness by obeying Him. His heart becomes our heart; His mind our mind; His will our will: "Thy will be done on earth as it in heaven..." One cannot be faithful to God if they do what they please.
God actively looks for faithfulness in His servants. It is one of the qualities on which He judges His people. Jesus tried to help us understand God's great interest in our trustworthiness. "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into they joy of thy Lord" (St. Matthew 25:21).
Everyone does not have the same opportunities. Nor do we all have the same abilities. But we all have something. We have the capacity to be faithful in our own condition (St. Matthew 25:14-30). Yet all people do not prove trustworthy when tested. Jesus was reminding us of this very sobering fact.
The Lord's servants are stewards. They control things in their own lives which belong to God--which is everything in their life and person. One example of a stewardship is especially interested in is the caring for and feeding of His people. This is not a judgment we have arbitrarily made. The Holy Bible makes this judgment for us: "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2)
Think of the patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob. He obeyed God even when faithfulness brought him difficulties. He was sold as a slave while carrying out his father's orders (Genesis 37:13-29). He was thrown into prison because he was faithful to his master, Potiphar (Genesis 39:1-20). Joseph was always faithful to God, and in due time he was set down at the right hand of Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt.
Moses was "faithful in all [God's] house" (Num. 12:7). What does "all God's house" mean? It means that he obediently did all God asked of him. He was an imperfect man like ourselves and he, too, made his notable mistakes. Yet, he consistently did God's will the best he could.
You will recall that to others God often spoke in dreams and visions, but He did not do so to Moses. God spoke clearly to him, and He cites Moses' faithfulness as his reason for doing so (Num. 12:6-8). You and I can clearly learn from that. If we obey, if we are faithful, that behavior enables us to hear God's voice more clearly. When our heavenly Fathers speaks, He expects and deserves obedience.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is supreme example of faithfulness. He always did God's will and spoke God's words. He had only one desire: "...not my will, but thine, be done." (St. Luke 22:42).
We, too, can learn faithfulness. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" (St. Luke 16:10-12).
As we grow more faithful in one area of our life, that faithfulness can carry over into other areas. Faithfulness toward God begins with faithfulness toward family, faithfulness to our Church, faithfulness to our Faith, faithfulness on our job, and faithfulness in friendships.
There are some, however, that have misguided faithfulness. It is more important for some to be more faithful to an individual, to a club, to a group of people, to a cause etc. than to God and the Church. Throughout Church history Christian men, women and children were so faithful to Christ that they were willing to be tortured and killed than to betray Him and the Faith. Today, however, there are many, who sadly enough, do not emulate that same faithfulness as the holy Martyrs and Saints of the Church. The holy icons of the prophets, martyrs and saints of our Christian Church are depicted on the walls of the church to remind us constantly of their faithfulness, their love, their devotion, their sacrifice for Christ. They are there to inspire all of us to be like them.
Our God must always be first. Our Christian faith must be first. We are first Orthodox Christians and then everything else. And as Orthodox Christians we must abide by the values, principles, precepts of our Faith. We have only one loyalty and that is to our Savior Jesus Christ. We must adhere to His Divine teachings and commandments throughout our lives. Our priority is not the club, it is not the organization, it is not memories from the past. Our only priority is the One Who sacrificed His life to save us from death and sin. We cannot act as unbelievers when we are with our club members and instant believers and Christians when we are at church. We are either genuine Christians or we are simply impostors. Which one are you?
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God