Faithfulness is a product of defeating doubt and being committed to God. When you have no doubt in what you are doing, then you are faithful. When you commit to what you are doing, it is easy to be faithful.
Commitment comes with understanding how important something is. Faith gives us the understanding we need to be faithful.
Hebrews 11:1 says,
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
And Hebrews 11:3 continues,
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
In other words, God reveals to us the way to think about things, to understand things, and to know things for sure. This is what it means to have faith and to live by faith. And when we live by faith, in the certainty and understanding of God’s truths, then we can be faithful.
So in order to be faithful, we need to have faith. It is by faith that we know and understand what we are being faithful to and why. This means that it is by revelation from God that we know and understand.
Romans 12:3 says, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Faith is what we believe in
God does not give us belief. He does not make us believe anything. Rather, He gives us something to believe in. He gives us faith. This is revelation of truth from God. Faith is not belief. Faith is what we believe in. And so when we call out to God asking for more faith, we are asking for more revelation, more evidence, and more understanding and assurance that God’s truths are right.
As you can see, belief, faith, and faithfulness are intertwined, but they are different. When God gives me faith (revelation), I experience conviction and confirmation of a truth. Subsequently, I believe, and as a result, I am faithful to that which I believe. If I am unfaithful to God, I am failing to believe God.
The lack of faith
Why do Christians lack faith (revelation from God)? Why do Christians who at one time believed the Gospel message and were saved, and who at one time believed the purpose in life is to win souls and make disciples come to a point where they doubt God and His Word?
Doubt is a product of failing to see, experience, and understand the truths of God. It is a failure to recognize the revelation from God. It is a result of failing to remember what was known at one time. It is a failure to renew that memory.
Renewing the memory of “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” requires a practice that the Bible calls “meditation.” As we meditate on the Word of God, our understanding of God’s truths becomes deeper and more substantial.
I am talking about Biblical meditation, not the meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or secular business practices.
Biblical meditation is communion with God while pondering His Word and His works in the peace that passes all understanding, resulting in deepened insights and clarity of thoughts that lead to wise counsel, decision making, and application. This description of meditation will take you awhile to think about!
Unlike other meditations that require tranquility in the environment and maybe special sound effects, Biblical meditation can take place anytime, day and night. It is something God expects us to do 24/7.
Psalm 119:97 says,
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
And David says in Psalm 1:2,
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
If a quiet, peaceful environment with special sound effects is needed to meditate, then David and Joshua were lying, because both were warriors and very busy men ruling a nation of people. Yet they said they were meditating day and night (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8).
This is not to say that meditation in a quiet place with sound effects is wrong. In fact, it is probably better for most to meditate without distractions. But Biblical meditation does not require it.
The tranquility and clarity of thought that comes during Biblical meditation comes from within, not from without. And so it can be continuous at all times of day and night in any environment.
The reason for meditating on God’s Word day and night is that we should be seeking God’s guidance every moment. Some think about God for one hour on Sunday mornings, but that is a very superficial Christianity. Likewise, thinking about God only when there is a church service or Bible study to attend produces a superficial Christianity. If you are truly born again, then the Spirit of God is provoking you to want more.
How is it possible to meditate day and night? Of course, this a grammatical hyperbole. To say we meditate day and night is similar to First Thessalonians saying pray without ceasing. If you are unconscious, taking a biology exam, or searching for IEDs on a battlefield, you are going to be preoccupied with the task at hand. Nonetheless, there should always be a sense of God’s presence and guidance. And this is what “day and night” means.
We should always be mindful of God’s Word, pondering it, and living it. It should always be present in our minds. It should be a part of our thoughts wherever and whenever. We should never be disconnected from Biblical instruction. Even when we find ourselves preoccupied and giving intense attention to some important task at hand, we should not be disconnected from our awareness of God and His guidance in our lives. In fact, it may be during the most intense times in our lives that we find ourselves asking for God’s help.
Meditating on God’s Word is thinking about God’s Word. What does it mean? How does it apply? As you go about life from day to day, the relevance of God’s Word should be a part of your thoughts.
For some, this might seem overboard, unreasonable, strange, and unbelievable. But it is not. Many Christians live every moment of their lives with a sense of God’s presence. They are in a moment by moment conversation with Him. This is a very real experience, and this is what God expects you to do too.
Meditating for deeper insights
Learning and understanding God’s Word must go beyond hearing and reading God’s Word. To fulfill God’s expectation of you as a disciple, you must take it to the next level. You must personalize the lessons of His Word as your own. You do this by meditating.
In Psalm 119:99 David says,
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
How does meditation lead a person to have greater understanding than his teachers? Two possibilities come to mind: 1) the teachers are not personally meditating, and/or 2) meditation leads to greater personal insights than can be communicated by a teacher. Teaching must be internalized and owned as the result of personal meditation. Teachers can share their insights, but you really never grasp them and retain them until you exert your own energy to think about God’s Word.
If you meditate on God’s Word, it will change your life. Joshua 1:8 says,
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
This means you will be enriched with knowledge and insight in God’s Word, wise counsel, and good decision making.
Biblical meditation is communion with God while pondering His Word and His works in the peace that passes all understanding resulting in deepened insights and clarity of thoughts that lead to wise counsel, decision making, and application.
To make this happen, we need to develop the habitual practice of meditating on God’s Word. This will help us fight doubt and be more confident in living for Christ.
Message by Dr. Patrick Briney to Mission Blvd. Baptist Church on August 5, 2015.