"The Five Graces of Faithfulness"
by Grace Bellingham
Taken from Dr. Frederick A. Drummond's message The Five Graces of Faithfulness.
“Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes.”
To be an exceptional person you must destroy your personal agendas and all the schemes involved in satisfying them. God’s divine destiny for your life has to do with His will for you not your will for you. For an upright man, God gets to make all the life decisions and we get to follow after His leadership at every turn. Life for the Spirit-filled Christian is about fulfilling our destiny not fulfilling our dreams.
Daniel was a good example of this kind of faithfulness; he was definitely one in a thousand. God allowed him to be hauled off by one of the most evil kings to ever reign in Babylon and be taken as a slave in his kingdom. He was emasculated and made a eunuch to serve in the king’s palace. The king instructed his soldiers to find young men in whom there was no blemish, good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand. He was looking for the finest young men of Israel that were able to learn the language and the literature of their country. These boys were of the best households in Israel, even sons of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles.
This young man had everything going for him, he was destined to rise to the top of his society and really make something out of his life, and his parents had no doubt that they would one day be very proud of their son and his accomplishments. God had other plans and those plans included the King of Babylon himself. As a child we see that Daniel laid down his personal agenda for his life and fully embraced God’s purpose for his life. Daniel believed in God above all circumstances no matter how out of control they were. He fully trusted in the leadership of God for his life and walked in whatever path was laid before him as a faithful man.
Daniel became so faithful to King Nebuchadnezzar that the King fully trusted him! How in the world could this king, knowing how Daniel was brought into his kingdom ever trust him? He was brought there against his will and his very manhood was taken from him; surely he was just waiting for a chance to retaliate. But no, Daniel’s faithfulness to God was what preceded him and all who knew him knew it. He had no hidden agenda; there were no schemes hidden in his heart against the king because Daniel’s faith was not in the king, it was in God. In heaven we will have no excuse for being unfaithful, there are no victims there. No matter what your reason, you were unfaithful. Are you one in a thousand, well you can be. Too often we become so comfortable with our plans, our dreams, our desires—our schemes.
Have you stopped to really see the tremendous price that Christ paid? Is it worthy of your life and future, of unanswered questions to remain unanswered? Are you willing to completely release your plans (schemes) for your life? The enemy of uprightness is scheming. You may thing that you have them under control, that they can’t hurt you or hinder what God is doing in your life, but get rid of them now or they will take you down. God sets up the circumstances to reveal them to you, so when you see them don’t justify yourself, repent and follow God with a pure heart.
We each start out upright with all the potential in the world. A scheming heart will destroy you when it comes to God’s will for your life being accomplished. You cannot fully follow His leadership in your heart if your heart is full of your agenda. At some point the circumstances will not go your way and you will flee. God didn’t make us for the mediocre, He made us for the extraordinary, the exceptional by His Spirit. Scheming will rob you of your true life in Christ. Remember, the pure in heart will see God. They will see God in every decision that they make as they follow the easy leadership of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
The funny thing is that we actually think that we can come into the presence of God asking for His leadership and His help when our heart is full of our own agenda, and what we are really asking is for Him to help us do what we want to do. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves. God made us for the very thing that He has destined us for, and He has fully gifted us for it. He loves us enough to see that we accomplish it and spend eternity reaping the reward for it. Now what kind of love is that!
We hear so much today about ‘possibility thinking’ and I’m all for being the best that you can be, but the underbelly of possibility thinking is, “…they have sought out many schemes”. Too often we work at thinking outside of parameters of God for our lives and we get into an arena where God is not working, it’s outside of His call on us. He is not asking for the perfect in heart, He is asking for the pure in heart. Remember, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to fully cleanse us of all unrighteousness. The trouble is that sometimes we cannot forgive ourselves. Well then at that point you have a higher standard than God! Repent of that and walk in the sure mercies of God for yourself and for others.
The price of faithfulness is oneness, oneness with God and the people of God. That means more of God and less of me, and more of them and less of me. However you look at it, it means less of me.
Less of me—more of you
Faithfulness = oneness
= what God made
Solomon was looking for faithfulness - someone who was upright in their thinking, honoring authority and their decisions before God. How few are to be found in the kingdom of God today I wonder. Choosing to become one with the call of God on our lives and allowing nothing to touch it no matter the personal cost is what God is looking for as well. Are you a faithful church member, hiding in your heart what has been entrusted to you regarding the private life or needs of another, or are you responsible for causing division by repeating matters that you have no business ever even thinking through?
Being unfaithful causes division, unfaithful to what God has called us to do. In God we as His children have the potential to become one with His design for us, in one accord, in one place. To remain in oneness we must continually say no to all competition. In our fast paced, highly motivated society we have so many influences to be aware of and resist as we set out hearts to follow God purely. There is television, radio, newspapers, books, magazines, peer pressure, family influence, and so many others that I hesitate to try to list all of them. What is important for us as His children is to renew the spirit of our minds by continually abiding in His Word and His consistent leadership in our lives. God has called us to faithfulness. He made us upright. Are you someone God calls faithful?
The one in a thousand that has chosen to reel him or herself in and guard his or her heart makes decisions on purpose to follow the leadership of God. Job was a reverent man who feared God above all else at great personal cost. Reverence is acknowledging God. As the Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge God, and He will direct your heart.” There is no other way Christian if you want to be known by God as a faithful, upright child of His. Kick out the schemes and acknowledge God in every decision and He will direct your heart.
Let Him do whatever He wants. Make the deep, pure, wonderful decision to follow God no matter what. He has the lead and you are determined to follow. You will never regret such a decision anymore than Job or Daniel or Abraham or any other who made that decision in their lives.