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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 9)

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 9)
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8)

Our last housewarming gift is FAITHFULNESS. Leaving a legacy of faithfulness may be the very most important gift, but to have this gift, you must have all of the other gifts. Why? Because if you don't have love, if you don't have service, if you don't have time, if you don't have positive conversation – you can not have a legacy of faithfulness.

If you were going to define faithfulness, as Paul uses it in the N.T., how would you do it? Well, if you looked in the dictionary, you would find a technical definition that says, "To follow through with a commitment regardless of difficulty." That’s a good definition.

But let me give you one that I came across that may be easier to remember, "Faithfulness is love hanging on." It is love saying, "I will not quit." There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit. It is love hanging on.

If someone says, "I really love the Lord," or "I really love the church," and then is unfaithful, then it’s hard to believe that he really does love the Lord.  Faithfulness and love always go hand in hand. Faithfulness is love hanging on. It is love saying, "I will not quit. There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit." It is love hanging on.  We show our love to God and to Jesus by loving them faithfully.
You and I may get discouraged. You and I may be disappointed, but faithfulness says, "Even though there is discouragement and disappointment, I will not let go, I will not quit. I will keep on loving, attending, giving and serving, because God has called me to be faithful."

Listen to what the Bible says through these scriptures that challenge us to be faithful.

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 2:10

Christians should be faithful in service, faithful in prayer, and faithful during trials....even to the point of death.  Sounds difficult, doesn't it?  But, it doesn't have to be difficult!  We don't have to, and in fact aren't even able to, go it alone.  We have a Savior, we have a Father, and we have the Holy Spirit!  Our power to be faithful comes from our dependence on their power.

Jesus is a perfect example of someone whose faithfulness never wavered.

Let's look at Matthew 16:21-23.

Satan was using Peter to try to get Jesus to quit, to be unfaithful. Again and again throughout His ministry Satan tried to tempt Jesus to be unfaithful. (paraphrased) "Don’t go to the cross. Don’t die for their sins. Just quit. It’s going to be too tough. There will be too many obstacles, too many difficulties. Just turn around and quit." Yet in Luke 9:51, (NIV) says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Resolutely means firm, determined, or unwavering. Jesus went to the cross willingly – knowing he was doing His Father's will.  I like that, don't you?!

And then, even while He was hanging on the cross, the people below Him were mocking Him, saying, "If you really are the Son of God, come down from the cross." That’s what Satan was saying, too. "Quit! Come down. It’s not worth it. The pain is too intense. The people don’t care anyway. Just quit!"

But He continued to hang there until finally He says, "Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing." And "Into thy hands I commit my spirit." That’s faithfulness. That’s faithfulness unto death.

And the faithfulness of Jesus has inspired the faithfulness of others down through the ages, those who hung in there, through the good and the bad, and through times of want and need.

Our legacy of faithfulness comes from a life that is committed to worshiping God. It's a life that is full of love and positive conversation. It's a life that spends time on things that further the kingdom of God and the work of His church. It's a life that is lived in full service to Him.

Let your children see your own faith, so it’s “caught,” not just “taught.”

Live a legacy of faithfulness.

We will conclude our LOL - Living Our Legacy with a wrap-up post tomorrow.

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