Meditations in Colossians: 3: Faithful?
Col 1:2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:
Well, to see the meaning of ‘holy’ we had to study some of the many references to it in the Bible but as we move on to consider what it means to be faithful, it might be more fruitful to meditate on it, ponder on and chew it over, rather than do an intellectual study of it.
I am called to be faithful to my wife. That means I am to remain true to her and not let my mind, my thoughts stray to any other woman. To be faithful means to remain true. Faithfulness is a building block of community, of civilisation, of humanity and the inference from the earliest chapters of Genesis is that faithfulness to one person is God’s design for us. As we, as a society in the West, have drifted away from God so that particular foundation has been undermined. So often people do not remain faithful for life, just as long as it suits them, just as long as it takes them to get bored with this particular relationship that now calls for effort to be made. In the early days of young love the thought of faithfulness doesn’t even arise for we are so taken up with one another that we can think of nothing else. And then the years pass, children arrive to make claims on us, age creeps up on us and we find we are different people and if we are careless and naïve we no longer put the effort in to expressing love like we once did. It is at this point that faithfulness becomes a challenge.
But we can also be faithful to an idea or a doctrine or an ideology. In recent years in the UK we have seen politicians jump ship and change parties. They no longer remain faithful to the party of their roots. It has always been so. Even that great statesman, Winston Churchill changed parties, more than once. Expediency can be a strong motivator to being unfaithful.
But sometimes it is right and proper to cease to be faithful to old ideas, old ways. We grow up and so our ideas and our behaviour changes. Sadly some may be brought up with good moral parents who seek to convey good standards but with the passing of years, insidious little temptations creep in and we compromise and before we know it we have moved right away from those ways we were taught. We have not been faithful to the way of our parents.
For those of us who are now Christians, there came a time when we were challenged about remaining faithful to our old ways. The word of God came to us as the Holy Spirit did His work and convicted us and we came to realise that we were in fact lost, helpless and hopeless. We turned from our life of self indulgence, self motivation, self gratification and self honouring and realised that remaining faithful to that way of life was only going to keep us locked in to a life of anxiety, a life of self-destruction, and so we turned to God, we received Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, and we embarked on an entirely new life empowered by His Holy Spirit, Our calling now is to remain faithful to Him, our Lord and God
It is, for most of the time, the most natural thing to do, as we rejoice in His love and goodness, but then a snake slithers into our circumstances and whispers, “Did God really say….” and doubts are sown and we start wondering. “It’s all right’” he continues, “it will be all right.” And there we are in the challenge to faithfulness. It happens most insidiously sometimes. Life gets busy, we have children and family makes more demands on us, we become successful in ‘our career’ and even more demands are put upon us. Church life becomes a nuisance it seems, and the snake whispers, “Well, they don’t care about you, and so much of a Sunday morning is a charade, a performance. You would be better off giving time to the family or catching up with that work on your laptop.” It sounds so sensible, so rational. And as the pressures build on us, whereas we once used to have a meaningful ‘quiet time’ it became a quick glance and a couple of verses, someone else’s comments and a muttered, “Lord please bless this day,” and then even that ceased. It all happened so subtly. “I’m still a Christian,” you exclaim but in reality it is little more than in name. Your call to be faithful to Him seems a long way in the past.
But then we look at the word again – faith-full, full of faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. We became people who respond to the word of God. We responded to it and were born again and became part of ‘the faithful’. And then the word kept coming and we kept responding and we were changed and so we carry on changing to become more like him. And then He spoke words or direction and calling to us and as we responded in faith He anointed us and equipped us for service and so we find ourselves called to remain faithful to our calling. Again the challenge will be there from the whisperer to ease up, step back, rest up, but we are called to be faithful, to remain true to our calling and true to Him who called us, empowered and equipped us. We are the faithful of God!