“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” ~ Psalm 16:8
God demands that His children, those who are His, be faithful to Him in every circumstance, in every situation.
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” ~ 1 Corinthians 4:2
However, faithfulness can sometimes be a challenge:
- It is easy to give when we have a lot to spare. But how about the times when we have little?
- It is easy to praise God when life is good: God looks good when He gives us good things. But how about the times when life is bad (e.g., when we lose our health, or our jobs)?
- It is easy to do right when there is no reason to do wrong. But what happens when we are faced with temptation? It is easy to be faithful when we are among the faithful. But what choices will we make when we find ourselves among the faithless? And how about the times when we are alone (when no one can see us)?
It is easy to be a faithful Christian in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter (just post/tweet Bible stuff). However, it is much harder to be a faithful Christian in the real world, where you can see and experience the real me.
Peter’s life demonstrates how difficult it is to be faithful: Before Jesus was arrested, he was willing to fight and die for Him (John 13:37-38). But when Jesus was arrested he denied Him three times (John 18:17, 25-27).
Our text (Psalm 16:8, above) gives us the key(s) to being faithful: David tells us that he will “not be moved”, i.e., he will remain faithful, because he has “set the Lord always before” him. Or, more specifically, he will remain faithful because God is at his “right hand”.
In other words, David could remain faithful as long as he never lost sight of God and he never did anything without God’s help. Indeed, David fell into sin exactly when he took his eyes off God and placed them on Bathsheba and when he let go of God and held on to her (2 Samuel 11) instead.
Likewise, our faithfulness depends on God being central to our lives. Like Peter, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus to stay above water (Matthew 14:28-31): God, not our circumstances, must be our focus at all times. And we must seek God’s direction and help for everything we plan to do.
This is easy to say, but how does it apply in practice? Here are some examples:
How about the times when we have little?
Whether we have a little or a lot everything belongs to God and is to be used as He instructs/guides us.
Consider this: If, as a child, your parents gave you some money sent you to the store to buy whatever you wanted, your primary concern would be how much money you had. In that case, it would be QUANTITY that determined your happiness. Conversely, if as a child, your parents gave you some money and sent you to the store to buy what was on their shopping list, your primary concern would be how well you fulfilled the task. In that case it would be OBEDIENCE that determined your happiness.
When we are focused on God we never worry about how much we have, we just want to see how well we can carry out His instructions. (And God is a good Father: He won’t send us to the “store” with His “shopping list” without giving us the money we need. We run into problems when we ADD things to His “shopping list” or when we just ignore His and use our own “shopping list”)
How about the times when life is bad (e.g., when we lose our health, or our jobs)?
We know we can depend on God, He is “at our right hand”. Therefore, whatever life brings must be good for us; even the consequences of our actions.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28
When God is the focus of our lives, it means that only His will matters: It’s not what I want, it’s what He commands. When God is the focus of our lives, it means that only His perspective is true: It’s not how I see it, it’s how God sees it.
So whatever happens in my life, whether “good” (pleasant/easy) or “bad” (painful/difficult), whether God’s blessing or God’s judgment it is ALL to my benefit. Consider this: God’s judgment of David (2 Samuel 12) made him a better man; Job’s affliction drew him closer to God, Paul’s thorn (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) glorified God and humbled Paul.
(On a personal note: Some time ago, while living apart from my family due to work, I came very close to falling into a diabetic coma. I was unaware I had developed the disease and my blood glucose had risen to alarming levels. While going through this ordeal, I leaned how much I needed my family. Previously, I had begun to think that I could manage better without them. God used my condition to show me otherwise. Additionally, I then had to develop discipline in my eating habits in order to combat the disease. Self-discipline is a longstanding weakness and now God is using diabetes to help me develop in that area. While I hate the disease, I have to confess that in many ways it has been a blessing.)
How about the times we are faced with temptation? How about the times we find ourselves among the faithless? How about the times when we are alone (when no one can see us)?
Before yielding to temptation, we must first decide to remove God from before us, to eject Him from our right hand. It is hard to sin while praying to God; it is hard to sin while reading His Word; it is hard to sin while thinking about Him. Psalm 119 puts it this way:
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” ~ Psalm 119:9-11
As long as we focus and God and His Word, as long as we depend on Him and not ourselves, as long as we keep close to Him, we have ALL we need to live faithfully: we will not be moved. This is the foundation for faithfulness.