Galatians 4:8-9 “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
The Church of Galatia had a problem with wrong doctrine and the old things of their flesh that they managed to free themselves at first but later on fell back into bondage. Paul was rebuking the Church of Galatia, which served God faithfully at first but then slowed down, backslide, and fell apart.
Similar to the Church of Galatia, many Christians today have slipped up in our faithfulness. For those of us who choose to continue to stay faithful, we may even be criticized by nitpickers and trouble makers.
Sometimes that may be discouraging, but let’s not forget who we are accountable to. It is God, not men. Do not let our flesh, the wickedness of the world, or our trials slow us down and make us weak.
The Church of Galatia was supposed to focus their worship on the one true God, but they chose to give up on their past ways and resort to worldly elements because they lost their faithfulness.
Let’s remember that all of the spiritual works we do, like soul-winning, tracts giving, street preaching, Bible reading, etc, sometimes may wear us out, and make our flesh feel tired and want to quit. Yet we need to know that we are not doing those things to please our flesh, but to please God, we do it for Him. We are not supposed to only feel comfortable, because sometimes it requires discipline and sacrifices to serve the Lord faithfully.
Romans 6:19-22 “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
The passage points out that before one is saved, his/her adherence or commitment to sin will go deeper and deeper. In contrast, if he/she is faithful to the Lord and wants to glorify Him, his/her faithfulness and holiness will also build up more and more.
Why serve the devil if we already know the fruits that we bear will only cause us misery? Why be faithful to things that will lead to anger, jealousy, despair, lust, pride, etc, when we can get encouragement and fruits of the spirit?
Genesis 25:30-33 “And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage ; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.”
Esau gave up his birthright for one of the most pitiful and ridiculous reasons, but we know that his nature is similar to us. We tend to give up God’s riches and inheritance to succumb to the temptation of the world.
It is not wise because nothing can justify our weakness and stupidity for exchanging eternal inheritance and God’s blessings for something temporary.
Another reason for our lack of faithfulness is our constant battle with the devil and our flesh. Sometimes we make the vow to serve God willfully, but at that instance, the devil also finds its way to lure us into idleness or sin, to stop us from doing our spiritual work. If we give in once, it will open us up to do it more often and to sin more vigorously, to the point of no return.
To reverse that vicious cycle, all it takes is that faithful mentality to want to make God happy instead of pleasing our flesh and desire. Make that a consistent habit, and we will experience gradual improvement even if we fall.
To identify this pattern, know that Satan always wants us to adopt a distorted backward way of thinking. For example, we need to change ‘This temptation is too hard to resist, I will slip off anyway, might as well just give in‘ of thinking to ‘I have overcome the temptation so many times, I can just do it one for time for the Lord.’
What causes the lack of faithfulness is seeing what our hearts desire, what do we truly want?
Psalm 119:143 “Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.”
In the face of trials or temptations, where do we set our hearts? This passage in Psalms 119 tells us that we can make a conscious choice to delight in God’s commandment if we want to overcome the trials. It is what our hearts desire, and we can overcome the situation. What keeps faithfulness going and growing is where we place our desire.
Time is an essential element to show our faithfulness or lack of faithfulness. The devil is a patient creature that will wait out for the right time to attack us. Similarly, God will also reward us if we can stand the test of time to prove our faithfulness to Him.
Ruth 2:12 “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”
This statement cannot be more accurate, knowing that God will reward us for every single second that we do something for Him. Even if we don’t receive our reward now on earth, we know for sure God will pay us back when we are in heaven. That is His promise. As time goes by, this mentality will be able to help us keep that faithfulness for Him.
Ecclesiastes 1:17 “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.”
If we look at our lives’ desires and what our flesh has provided us in the past, we are genuinely not content. We have suffered from a lot of uneasiness and misery. We were just too blind to see. So for once, let’s not let the devil take advantage of us anymore, and do something spiritual for the Lord instead.
If anything, our past sin and wickedness should motivate us to redeem our time for the Lord. If we realize just how detrimental, dangerous, and destructive our sin in the past was, it will urge us to do more to the Lord.
2 Kings 21:3-6,9 “For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.”
If we were to compare what Manasseh did, those wicked things which he committed to doing were much harder than what God wanted him to do. Nevertheless, Manasseh was more faithful to the wicked things than to God’s will.
Often, God’s instructions for us are relatively easy, but we tend to neglect His will and choose worldly ways to solve our problems. Amid trial and temptation, sometimes the solution is as simple as humbling ourselves and pray to God for protection.
Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
We waste too much of our resources and time unnecessarily. It is important to redeem the remaining time we have to earn our heavenly rewards. Let’s not waste God’s blessings or forego the works we have accumulated for Him due to that one backsliding moment that we perceive to be petty or unimportant.