When we think about an individual, whether it’s someone we know well or a famous person we know only by reputation, certain characteristics often come to mind. They might include charisma, determination, integrity, perseverance when faced with adversity, humor, honesty, generosity, or many other qualities. We hear someone’s name and almost immediately associate one or more traits with them.
What comes to mind when you think about God?
A comprehensive listing of His attributes could fill an entire book, even without elaborating on what each one means and how it relates to us. These would include His omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, perfection, mercy, love and sovereignty. You might be able to add several more to the list without a moment’s hesitation.
All are intertwined as part of the character of God. If it weren’t for His grace and mercy, we’d still be “dead in our sins and trespasses,” as the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1.
If not for God’s limitless love, Jesus Christ would not have come to earth, not just to teach and serve as an example, but most important, to become the perfect payment in full for our sins. “[He] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and become obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Hebrews 2:7-8).
Some of the Lord’s attributes, such as being eternal, infinite, holy and righteous can quickly scramble our brains if we attempt to fully comprehend all that they mean.
One attribute or trait that has particularly stood out for me over the years is God’s faithfulness. As 2 Timothy 2:13 declares so clearly, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
Each of us, no matter how long we have been striving to follow Christ, has lapsed into times of faithlessness, times when we doubted or disobeyed because we somehow believed we knew better. What if God were like that, losing interest or abandoning us when we’ve gone astray? What if He gave up on us when our best efforts have fallen short, or we’ve become discouraged or disheartened?
Thank the Lord – literally – that’s not the case. As the verse says, even if we’re faithless, He remains faithful. God’s faithfulness is emphasized throughout the Bible. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” The classic hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” is based on this passage.
Psalm 85:10-11 puts it so beautifully, “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”
Why is this important? Because no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, regardless of how difficult our current trials and temptations may seem, these guarantees of God’s faithfulness give us hope. Even when things look the darkest.
When God vows, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” both in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 31:6,8 and Joshua 1:5) and the New Testament (Hebrews 13:5), we can trust His promise will hold true no matter what. Friends and family members may fail us at times, but our Lord never will.
Is it any wonder that faithfulness is one of the qualities God desires for His followers? Proverbs 20:6 asks, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”
Writing to his young protégé, Timothy, the apostle Paul offered this challenge: “And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is at the heart of true discipleship and disciplemaking – faithful men and women helping other faithful people to grow in their faith, so they then can teach others in the same way.
Remaining faithful in our walk with God is crucial, but it isn’t easy. There is much to distract us and lure us away from living the kind of life He expects from us. But if we take to heart the words of the old hymn, we’ll find the assurance needed to press on, no matter what we encounter:
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou has been, Thou forever will be….
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.