“But the fruit of the Spirit is...faithfulness...” Galatians 5:22
As I was reading this morning, I was taken aback by the thought that having faith is not just of the mind, but also it is of the body in doing what it takes to make faith most important in your life – living in faithfulness. What we say we believe and trust in is one thing, but how we go about making sure to not lose that which we hold so dear is a completely different thing and one that I fear is often forgotten when we think about our own faith lives.
I know this is a long excerpt from 2 Chronicles that I have put below, but I believe the story of Hezekiah is an important one for all of us to read if we desire to understand what true faithfulness is all about. It is a lesson learned by a nation so many years ago who turned away from the Lord and about a righteous ruler who was faithful enough to stand up against the sinful ways of his people and bring them back (against all opposition) to the Lord who alone was worthy to be worshiped and praised.
“...Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel....Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: 'Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel'...So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem...So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers. Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness... Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars—from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh—until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities, every man to his possession.” 2 Chronicles 30:1,6,10,11,21-23 and 31:1
Hezekiah's faithfulness began an awakening across the land of Israel and Judah that in return revived the faithfulness of the people who chose to see this call to faithfulness as a personal call in their own lives. A change that required them to physically come to the temple of the Lord and to them work out their worship in many tangible facets. These people long ago were not just called to decide in their hearts to start following the Lord's commands, they were called to leave their homes and show their faithfulness to the commands of the Lord through their physical presence, worship, confession, and sacrifice.
Being faithful to God and His ways today still requires us to do all of these same things in the physical realm just as much as keeping in line our thoughts and our beliefs. Hezekiah saw what was wrong around him and chose to not sit around and complain about what was going on, but instead he determined to do something about it. The people of the land who were also wanting a change, when they heard the call of Hezekiah to return to the Lord, responded by actually going and doing what was right before the Lord even though it required great sacrifices of their time and their possessions.
The next time we say that we believe something about God and His ways, we must realize that in what we are saying we believe to be true, we are also willing to “do” anything God asks of us which lines up to that belief we have uttered.
Thankfully God is One who can be trusted when we put all our hope and trust in Him and all He says is true about Himself. We do not waste a moment when we take physical steps of faith because our God has promised that He is faithful to make all of our faithfulness add up to righteousness that will bring many back to the Lord, including our own hearts. Be encouraged today as you seek to live out your faith in all faithfulness to the call of the Lord.