Many years ago while I was married to my first husband, I went grocery shopping by myself. While exiting the store, a couple of strapping young men caught my eye. Lacking all subtly, I ogled them as I was taking my groceries to my vehicle. I was so distracted that I didn’t see the curb in front of me. I tripped throwing groceries everywhere. With a red face I picked up my belongings and scurried to my truck with a wounded pride.
While this was the most humorous, it unfortunately wasn’t the only time I tripped in my faithfulness.
Now I hear you saying to me, “but Rachel, it was just looking! It’s not like you went to bed with him!” As much as my sin nature likes that excuse, Jesus told me otherwise. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “but I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Clearly, God’s standard for faithfulness go far beyond our standard.
And to singles or those who don’t struggle with lust, don’t think that you are excluded. While faithfulness in marriage is imperative, it is also necessary in other areas. We must be faithful to our spouse, our potential future spouse, our work, our fellow Christians, our family, and our God.
But how are we supposed to live up to a higher standard of faithfulness than just the bare minimum of not cheating on our spouse? We must become faithful as God is faithful.
Filled with faithfulness
We have so much evidence throughout the Bible of the faithfulness of God. God declared of Himself in Exodus 34:6 when He revealed Himself to Moses, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” We see throughout the Old Testament from Adam to the Prophets that He proved this statement of Himself true. While He allowed natural consequences to occur, He never let His people be destroyed. He fulfilled His faithfulness in the sending of His son Jesus. Jesus bore our sins and was the fulfillment of God’s promise of a savior to atone for people’s sin. God has continually been faithful to His promises and faithful to His people.
If we, as disciples of Christ, have the Spirit of God Himself living in us, we then therefore should have His faithfulness in us. Yet, we still see Christians being unfaithful to their spouse, cheating at their job, and neglecting time with God. What gives? Surely it isn’t an issue with the Holy Spirit! Rather, it is that we haven’t died daily to our own wants and desires so the wants and desires of the Holy Spirit haven’t taken hold in our lives.
In this light, we don’t see Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount concerning lustful looking (Matthew 5:27-30) as too harsh. Instead of making our lives harder, God in His loving mercy is trying to help us make faithfulness easier. The point here is to not even let the seed of unfaithfulness germinate and sprout up in our minds so that it won’t take root in our lives. Avoiding mentally undressing another is a small price to pay to have a beautiful, long, godly marriage. Maintaining loyalty to a hard (but not immoral) employer is manageable if it makes us better witnesses for the gospel. Dedication in our daily Bible reading is a small step to a deep relationship with the Creator of the universe. Jesus said it best in Luke 16:10, “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much.” The little is the foundation for the big; the look is the sprout of the affair; the tiny act of faithfulness is the first step to the giant, godlike faithfulness.
While we, imperfect, finite beings, will never live up to being the perfect, infinite God, we should as true disciples not only accept His grace for our unfaithfulness, but also strive to be faithful as He is. This happens by letting God permeate all of our lives even into the thought level. We can have unshakable loyalty only by letting God in at the germination level.
Though, if you’re like me, you have let unfaithfulness take root at sone point. Don’t think that it is too late for you because of that! I am a living testimony that God can pull out well established roots and renew your mind. His faithfulness was evident in my past lack of faithfulness. And His grace is shown by Him daily captivating my thoughts to make me a faithful wife, worker, and child of God.