Fruit of the spirit - Faithfulness
There are many woman of faith who have followed God before us and our time. Women who, defying all the odds, served God. Women who, in a huge variety of circumstances, have been faithful disciples of Jesus. I want to help us think about faithfulness by focusing on three women, people I really admire, who displayed great faithfulness in their lives as they devoted themselves to God. Here’s a super quick bio of each of these amazing ladies:
Amy Carmichael was born in Millisle, but she gave up her life there to serve God in many ways. She started in Belfast, moved on to Manchester, and then spent most of her life honouring God in India. The fact that she moved from Northern Ireland to India is amazing to me, but incredibly she followed God’s calling even though she didn’t have good health. I mean, I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick I just want to be in my own bed! Amazingly, she continued to serve God until the end of her life, even though she was bed ridden for around twenty years. Isn’t her life a real testimony of faithfulness? She didn’t look like the ideal missionary, yet she took God’s Word seriously and gave up her comfortable life to travel across the world to serve God.
Corrie Ten Boom
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m forever saying that I want to visit Corrie Ten Boom’s house. She has always inspired me because she was a faithful servant of God in a really risky time. She used her home to hide Jews, during the Holocaust, from the Nazis. She constantly risked her own safety to protect the lives of others. Isn’t that an amazing display of the gospel that tells us that Jesus sacrificed his own safety to save the lives of others? Corrie Ten Boom continually put others before herself. In fact: even after she was caught by the Nazis and imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp, she continued to prioritise the needs of others before her own. She loved others, and served her God in many difficult situations, despite all the risk.
You might know lots of wonderful things about Elizabeth Elliott. For me, I can’t get over her decision to spread the gospel to the same tribe that killed her husband, and father of her daughter, Jim Elliott. By giving up the safety of the life she had, she visibly forgave the same people who destroyed her family life. She moved into this dangerous situation for one reason: the gospel! Her desire was to serve God, by speaking about his Son, at any cost. She was willing to pay the price of following Jesus faithfully, and she always reminds me that faithfulness isn’t necessarily easy.
So…how can we be faithful?
I’m not suggesting that we can only be faithful disciples if we leave school, quit our jobs, pack up our lives and move to India, or hide refugees in our homes, or live among a remote and violent tribe. No: each of these women remind us that no matter what situation you are in, or how impossible the path in front of you seems, God is with you and is using you for His own glory. It is only by clinging to Him, with the help of his Holy Spirit, that we can begin and continue to be faithful. Faithfulness isn’t about comparing your life to others but learning from those around you who have faithfully given their lives to serve God.
So, I’d encourage you to read up on women like these. Buy some books and think about God’s goodness in using ordinary people like me and you to serve Him in often unbelievable ways. Use their lives to spend some time thinking about how you can be faithful to God right now. How can you serve Him in work/university/school? How can you share the gospel with the people around you? How can you be faithful in reading the Bible? How can you faithfully pray?
Faithfulness is not an easy calling. It’s a life-long commitment to seeking, serving, and following Christ. So, you need to be constantly refreshed by knowing that God doesn’t love us because of our faithfulness to Him but because of His faithfulness to us; faithfulness we know through Jesus’ death on the Cross. Thankfully, God is not expecting us to be faithful on our own strength. He is calling us to serve Him through Jesus’ strength and the Holy Spirit’s power.
Give thanks for these unreal women of faith (and any others that you know) and ask God to make you faithful in whatever situation you’re in right now and in every situation that is still to come.