As children of God, we're called to imitate Christ, His qualities, thoughts, and deeds. We're commanded to love as He does, to preach as He did, to pursue His standards of holiness, to serve as He serves. Yet we all know, it's easier said than done.
I've always been conscious of some character struggles. I battle with pride, discipline, and temperance. I need to strive for humility, wisdom, submission, and selflessness. I've always known these problems. I know I have to imitate Christ in these.
Yet recently, God gave me a greater understanding of His one quality that I never did, and probably never will, fully comprehend--yes, faithfulness.
It's easy to tolerate a church co-worker's one offensive statement; after all, everyone's human. It's part of Christian life to practice compassion and patience, knowing God does the work in people's hearts. It isn't hard to declare that one would support one's friends always, with unconditional Christlike love. That's easy to say.
Forgiveness, compassion, patience, love...they're easy to have, one at a time. Yet I seem to fail in them all, when comes the test of faithfulness, the test of time and heart.
What happens when a ministry leader offends and commits mistakes repeatedly, unapologetically? What do I do when I find frustration in ministry...not because of the ministries, but because of the people? God calls me to focus on Him. He calls me to keep on with a pure heart of service. He calls me to be faithful.
What happens when all the care and compassion I give go thankless or seemingly fruitless? What when my heartfelt, painstaking advice to people's questions goes unheeded and ignored? God calls me to continue working, continue praying. It's all in His hands. I must continue to reach out to everyone around me. He calls me to be faithful.
I've struggled with self-righteousness. I complain in my heart that I do not deserve such treatment. Why should I sacrifice time and heart to care for people who wouldn't appreciate it, to guide people who wouldn't heed, and to support people who wouldn't treasure my help? When a ministry goes wrong because of others' mistakes, I'm tempted to give it up. When multiple people come complaining over the results of their own folly, asking for my comfort and concern, I'm tempted to bark "I told you so" and give them up. After all...I have every right to do so, don't I? I've already done my best, haven't I?
Yet when I turn to God to complain, eight words silence me.
"How often do you do that to ME?"
I cannot answer Him. How often do I treat God with ungratefulness and impatience? How often do I come crying to Him, asking Him to fix what He had told me not to do? How often do I treat Him a thousand times worse than others had treated me? Every day, I'm afraid...almost every single day.
Faithfulness is unlike any other quality, for it is the consistency of all of them together. At times, when I want to give up on anything, I remember Him. He is faithful, and so should I be. I deserve nothing; I am privileged to know Him, to reflect who He is.
May we learn to be faithful, as our Father is.