None of us knew this would last so long. It’s been a long road, nothing like we thought: 12 weeks of live-stream only services, and now an indefinite number of weeks with limited capacity along with the suspension of childcare, on campus groups, and regular church activities. And that’s just from the church perspective. Our world has been flipped upside down. From the grocery store to the daycare, we are fighting weariness on every front. And I’m tired.
Tired. Yes, and I bet you are too. We’re all tired of words like restriction and distance and guidelines. We’re tired of not being able to… fill in the blank. Our patience has been tested far beyond its limits. If you’re like me, you’ve come to realize that you’re much more of a sinner than you ever knew yourself to be – and in far more need of the gospel every day than you ever realized. We must preach the gospel to ourselves and thank God for his saving and sustaining grace. Lord, help us.
And he does. He’s using our tired souls and our weary hearts to teach us what Christian faithfulness looks like. God has called us to faithfulness when times are easy, and let us not forget, when times are hard (and church history tells us, times have been harder than this).
What is faithfulness? Walking close to Christ when conditions are most unfavorable. That is, to live in such a way that I don’t lose it and don’t blow it. If we know ourselves rightly, we are always about two breaths from making shipwreck of our lives and our families. Or perhaps not a sudden shipwreck, but a letting down of the sail. It is all too common for Christians and their families to simply take their sails out of the wind of God’s Spirit, and before too long — they are out at sea. But God has called us to faithfulness – to love him, grow in him, and lead others along that same path. We are to stay at it, to keep going, with an attitude like Moses sang about, “The Lord is my strength.” (Ex. 15:2)
Faithfulness today paves your future tomorrow. That’s a lesson the Lord is teaching me. Remain faithful to God. Do not let this crisis go by without learning everything you can about him, yourself, and his call on your life. During this season, I’ve let my mind gravitate towards three exhortations. Perhaps these will resonate as you seek a posture of faithfulness today.
Do not lose your hope. As the hold hymn goes, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” That’s good theology, for the good times and the bad. And if there ever was a time to trust in the One who holds the future, it is right now. God is bigger than your biggest struggle. (Psalm 42)
Do not lose your cool. There has been more than one time where I just want to throw my hands up. Let me encourage you to remember who is watching. Yes, the Lord – but also other people. They may be following your lead; they may be leaning on your strength. Stay calm, be Spirit-filled. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Do not lose your love. It takes three weeks to break or form a habit. We’re well into the habit-forming zone. We are the church, the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you still in love with him and his people? Love the church and love the Savior – that your days will be sweet. I hope to see you soon. (Matt. 16:18; Heb. 10:25, Rev. 2:4)
God has called us to faithfulness. And the good news is that he is faithful when we are not. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy,
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. – 2 Timothy 2:11-13
God. Is. Faithful. Please note that. Tattoo that truth on your soul. That’s the motivation you and I need to live for Christ. His faithfulness always trumps mine — and he still calls me to follow him. He gives more grace when we need it. As we place one foot in front of the other, we walk our Christian journey with eyes on him.
I hope you can join us for a public worship service very soon. Our good friend Dr. Jim Shaddix from Southeastern Seminary will be with us on Sunday, July 19. Let me encourage you to make every attempt to either attend in person or tune-in live stream. He is an excellent expositor of God’s Word who prizes Spirit-empowered preaching through the crucified life (1 Cor. 2:1-5). You can learn more about Dr. Shaddix’s ministry at jimshaddix.com
God bless you church. Stay faithful.