Updated: Feb 16, 2019
By Nate Smith, On Redemption
I somehow equated faithfulness to mean commitment without error.
I once identified as a stumbling saint. Doubts plagued my mind with a question if the Lord could complete a good work in me. Lending a helping hand became a spiritual checklist I could never complete. Scripture reading turned into an obligation of study without a whispered prayer. Work became a distraction with Jesus interfering with conviction, so I kept him locked in the house until I needed him. Compartizliation seemed best when I kept my spiritual life at home. And soon, with a segmented lifestyle and an uncertain heart, a few moments of unsettled emotions cascaded into minutes, hours or days of selfish sin indulgence. I was a stumbling saint.
For some reason, each time I would turn to Him, ask for forgiveness and pray I can desegregate the life I lived. And, what looked like to me as a cycle, eventually became progress as caring for others became a joyful act, Scripture became life-giving. I saw Jesus integrate into my every day. Still, I questioned much. Did I waste too much time in that vicious cycle for him to use me? Had I sinned too often? Did I understand enough to be used? Are my questions the mark of an uncertain stumbling man or a person continuing growing in faith? I hoped for the latter, but my doubt screamed the former.
Earlier this week, the Lord showed me a picture of the promises He had for me. My immediate response was to question Him. I felt like my commitment to Him was low. My ability to stumble in my sin was greater. Work consumed me more than His heart. I did not feel worthy. So I asked, "Why would you give this to me? Why would you do this?"
The Lord responded, "Despite how distracted you feel or how many times you stumble, you always come back to me. You're a faithful one."
I scrolled through thousands of the reasons why I was not a faithful man. Boxes left unchecked of things I should have done and checkmarks by activities I shouldn't. I understood faithful to mean error-free, faultless, perfected devotion. I told Him, "I am not a faithful one."
I felt His hand on my back as He said again, "You are faithful. You always come back to me. You are a faithful one."
I somehow equated faithfulness to mean commitment without error. To Jesus, faithfulness meant watching me learn to acknowledge Him as Lord despite my feelings or life circumstances. I saw as my spiritual process as a waste of time. The Lord saw a greater picture of a faithful journey of committing my life over and over to Him. One I certainly cannot see.
With His mercy and grace, let us continue to learn the greater depths of being faithful to Him. Not first from the doing, but the knowing He is God and we are not.
Psalm 100 Shout praises to the Lord, everyone on this earth. Be joyful and sing as you come in to worship the Lord! You know the Lord is God! He created us, and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep in his pasture. Be thankful and praise the Lord as you enter his temple. The Lord is good! His love and faithfulness will last forever.