Great Is My Faithfulness?
Recall the old hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. It speaks to how God is always there for us, in so many different ways. Read Lamentations 3. In verses 19-26, Jeremiah speaks to God’s faithfulness in his situation, which if you noticed, was pretty bleak. Even though Jeremiah’s message to God’s people was one of wrath and warning, Jeremiah remained faithful in preaching it. This begs the question: how great is my faithfulness?
Faithfulness is not giving up and trusting in God. Interesting, isn’t it? Last month we talked about patience. Still, when we are faithful, we show God and others that we can be trusted. Faithfulness always follows through. It means doing what you say you will do, no matter what. If you tell a friend you will meet them at the park and then you do not show up, that makes you look like a bad friend. We want to be a friend that shows up when we say we will. Our friends will know that they can trust us when we say things. Do you know who always follows through and keeps promises? God does! When we pray to God, He will always help us. He keeps His promises and will never give up on us no matter what we do.
Just like Jesus we have to be faithful and brave in tough situations. Jesus said “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in much…” (Luke 16:10). Jesus teaches us to grow our faithfulness from something smaller. Consider how many times did Jesus say to the disciples or the bystanders “O You of little faith…” Even Mary & Martha, sisters of Lazarus had small faith when each told the Lord “…if You had been here my brother Lazarus would not have died…” (John 11:17-27). Yet our faithfulness will grow because the Holy Spirit is growing faithfulness in us. As you read the passage consider how Jesus helped Martha see real life beyond the grave. By the end of the conversation, Martha declares her faith in Christ, now a deeper faith than she previously knew. As you continue to pray and spend time in the Bible, faithfulness will help you be brave, not give up, and trust God!
Faithfulness & Health
Now let’s examine the fruit of faithfulness in light of overeating and our health journey. Too often, our perception of healthy people is one of physical fitness and eating right. While this is an important part of being healthy, when we use the word “healthy” we are describing a physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually healthy person. To maintain this kind of healthy life, faithfulness is essential.
When approaching our lives with healthy living in mind, we can certainly agree that our life has been entrusted to us. Consider 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20. Although Paul is specifically speaking of sexual sins, one can easily substitute anything harmful to the body. When we allow anything (whether it is money, food or poor habits) to become our focus in life, we have sinned against God.
Overeaters are devoted to food. Food becomes comfort. Food becomes a stress reliever. One can’t serve both God AND food. Again, consider Luke 16: 12-14. We won’t be perfect people even after we have come to this realization. We will still choose food when we shouldn’t. But, awareness of the struggle often helps to make better choices.
Are You Aware?
“I didn’t eat that bad.”
“Fat is in my genes and I guess God created me fat.”
“I don’t have time to prepare or plan my meals.”
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? Each time we repeat these phrases, whether in disgust or in jest, we build our personal prison…one brick at a time (or maybe one value meal at a time).
As Christians, we should not place our desire for unhealthy food (or anything else) above our desire for God. Yes, God created us as beings who require nutrition to survive, but what we desire so much today is not about nutrition. Instead, it’s about taste and pleasure. And our meals become a perversion of what God intended for us to consume. Think about:
- What I am eating (Is this ______ the best thing for me to eat right now, or do I need to make a better choice?)
- Why I am eating (Am I really hungry or am I just looking for something to do?)
- Where I am eating (in front of the TV vs. during a meal with family)
Track Your Awareness
Choose a week in which you will write down everything you eat. Include:
- When (time) and where you eat
- Write out what you are doing at the time you decide to eat
- If you are really analytic, write out how you feel when you decide to eat AND how you feel later on in the day or the following morning.
See if you can pick out a pattern or two as you review your notes. Then think about where you can make adjustments to your “routine”. For instance:
- Are you going to the same type of food? Get it out of the house. Stop buying it or use a healthier substitute, like frozen grapes for ice cream.
- Do you find yourself in front of the TV and then “discover” you’ve eaten 1/2 a bag of Lay’s? Take a “tech fast” for a time or make the decision (and the effort) to keep ALL food in the kitchen.
Take a few minutes to review this resource from the MissionFiT blog: “Mind-ing What You Eat”. Remember, awareness of the struggle often helps to make better choices.
Dedicated To God
Let’s return to faithfulness. We’ve mentioned it already, but how much do we realize that our physical bodies have been entrusted to us? Read Romans 12: 1-2 & 1 Corinthians 10. What do these passages say about how we are to use our bodies? We are to use them to God’s glory. We are to care for them and use them to their greatest potential. This means living and practicing healthy habits.
Most of us are faithful in the big stuff. We are on time for work and we meet the deadlines. Where we struggle to be faithful is in the day-to-day grind. We know we need to get up a little earlier for that time with God or we know we should go to bed a little earlier to be properly rested. But “life gets in the way”. So we cheat a little here, neglect a little there, and one day wake up and realize we have actually failed to be faithful to God.
We are all able to be faithful when we are under the spotlight, but how do we do in the things no one else knows? Are we faithful in the dark?
“When I used to binge and overeat, I didn’t do so in a public restaurant or at a church dinner. I rarely did so even at a family dinner. My overeating and binge cycles took place in my car, late at night, alone with myself…those were the moments I lacked faithfulness.”
Remember, progress, not perfection. Give your struggle over to God. Consider Proverbs 23: 19-21 & Proverbs 28: 7. Make the effort to confess your attitudes and actions to the Lord. He is “…faithful & just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) when we come to Him in confession & repentance.
- What do your habits tell you about your faithfulness?
- What area of health do you hear God nudging you to be more faithful?
- A faithful person is one with real integrity. He or she is someone others can look to as an example and someone who is truly devoted to others and to Christ. Our natural self always wants to be in charge, but Spirit-controlled faithfulness is evident in the life of a person who seeks good for others and glory for God.
Question: Are there areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in my life, or is my life characterized by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around me?
- The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness – Lisa Liou, InterVarsity
- Completing The Task God Gives Us – Decision Magazine, 09/28/2008
- Moment-By-Moment Faithfulness – Gospel Coalition
- Mindful Eating: Why Slowing Down To Eat Is So Important – Healthy Free Life Podcast
- For a deeper discussion of John 11, see Thru The Bible resource “John Bible Companion” – Lesson 11