23: Faithful Fathers

     In speaking to men, I regularly encourage them to focus on being faithful instead of successful. Recently I had a man ask me what I thought a faithful man looked like. This question has caused me to ponder what God calls a faithful man. In my mind, which I assumed everyone understood, I continually fight the prevailing idea of what a successful man looks like. In our western culture this may be measured by your job, salary, car, home, boat, hobby, or what kind of a golfer you are. All of these standards mean nothing in the divine economy.

     But even in our Christian culture, we measure success in whether you have a ministry, or how many people you have led to Christ, or how big your church is, or what the size of your missions’ budget is, and more importantly, how many activities you are involved in. We equate business with success.

     The key measurement in both of these barometers is you can see. But God looks on the heart. He doesn’t look at what is “seen” with the eyes, but where only He can see, the inward man. In scripture there are several examples of faithful men: Abraham (Gal. 3:9), Moses (Num 12:7), Samuel (1 Sam 2:35), David (1 Sam 22:14), Hezekiah (2 Chron 31:20), Daniel (Dan 6:4), Timothy (1 Tim 1:12), and our great example Jesus (Rev 1:5).

    I would like to focus on a man mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments – 230 times under his new name and 54 times with his old moniker, Abraham. I have a few scriptures listed that are worth meditating on and not skimming (which I often do in newsletters).

  • In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Rom 4:18-21 ESV

To be a faithful man, you are full of faith, or faith-ful. Abraham was a man of faith. In fact I believe Romans 4:18-21 is a wonderful example of faith, even as Hebrews 11:1-2 is a superb definition of faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. Heb 11:1-2 ESV

     A faithful man is an obedient man. He obeys God’s leadings and his Written Word. He is not easily swayed by the glitz and glamor of the world or the flash and the fizzle of the Christian world. He patiently and steadily follows his master even when it is not outwardly impressive.

     He honors his oath to be faithful to his wife. He diligently teaches the Word to his children, “when he rises up and walks by the way” even if he is not an inspiring or entertaining speaker. He patiently provides for his family. He prays regularly for his family to the One who is not seen, but Who hears what is prayed in secret.

     Even faithful men need encouragement for their faith. I believe the one habit that has kept me pursuing God and helped me to stay in the battle with my eyes fixed on heaven is regular exposure to God’s word. When I do not spend time in The Word, heaven dims and the world comes into sharper focus. When I do read the Word, heaven comes into focus and the things of this world fade.

  • So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Rom 10:17 ESV).

Having his word abiding in us will impact our beliefs, which determine our actions.

  • You do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. John 5:38 ESV

Abraham was not a flashy man, but he was a faithful man. He kept his eyes on the prize.

  • By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Heb 11:8-10).

The faithful man will eventually win the day and be a fruitful man.

  • A faithful man will abound with blessings. Prov 28:20 ESV

Here are a few more promises to encourage your faithfulness:

  • Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me. Psalms 101:6 ASV
  • Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful. Psalms 31:23 ASV

May our faithful God not let us grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Gal 6:9 ESV).