“Stan,” I asked, “do you think that having faith and being faithful are the same thing?”
“Not necessarily,” he replied.
Continuing, he added, “While I think the two should go hand-in-hand, I also think there’s always the trap of being faithful without really having faith. It’s kind of like we talked about before of the difference between being religious and having a relationship with God.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” I replied.
“Okay,” Stan said, “let’s say I believe in God the Father and God the Son, and that I have accepted the free and gracious gift of eternal salvation by faith.”
“So you have the assurance that you will be in God’s eternal presence when your time here is done?” I replied.
“That’s right,” Stan said. “The faith that I am saved from being eternally separated from God.”
Continuing, he added, “Let’s say further that I do certain things on a regular basis, being faithful in what I’m doing with the idea that it pleases God. And if I don’t do those things, it’s going to displease God and make Him mad.”
“Kind of like getting points for doing or not doing something?” I responded.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “If I faithfully go to church service because I think that it will please God and earn His favor, I’m practicing a religion.”
“However,” he continued, “if I go to church service on a regular basis because I want to worship God, spend time with Him, and have fellowship with believers, I’m seeking a deeper relationship with God because of my faith.”
“It’s the difference,” he continued, “between doing something faithfully because I think it is an obligation, or being faithful because it is a privilege.”
“Being faithful versus doing something faithfully,” I replied, “is that it?”
“It is,” Stan said, “and there’s always a danger of doing without being, and I have to check myself regularly to see where I am with that!”
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1, 2.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . faithfulness. Galatians 5:22.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness in all things. Thank you for your faithfulness to forgive my sins and to cleanse me of all unrighteousness when I confess. I ask for your help in being faithful to you in all things, not out of a sense of duty seeking to win your favor, but out of a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for your faithfulness. Please help me in following your lead in allowing the fruit of the Spirit’s faithfulness to flow in and through me so that I am truly full of faith. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you agree that there is a difference between having faith and being faithful? Why or why not? Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation by faith? If not, why? If you have accepted that gift, how are you doing in being full of faith in response to God’s faithfulness. What would it look like for you to allow the Holy Spirit’s fruit of faithfulness to flow freely in and through you? Is that something you would like? If so, do you know how it can and will happen?