How to Remain Faithful

By Ronnie Lowe

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:7-9).

Faithfulness is a requirement for every Christian. We must be devoted and firmly hold to the teachings of the Bible, and live true to its commands. As God is faithful, He expects us to likewise be faithful. Yet always doing right in God’s sight is not easy. But remember, God knows if we are faithful or not, and He will reward or punish us according to our life.

Why do some people fail to remain faithful Christians? What does it require to remain faithful? These are vital questions we need to answer. God promised great blessings to the faithful; Jesus promised the saints in Smyrna, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). How do we remain faithful to God and enjoy such promises?

We face many temptations today which will draw us away from God, unless we are strong and careful. Jesus warns us not to be like those who allow tribulations, persecutions, cares of this world, or riches to choke out God's word and entice them away from God (Matthew 13:1-23). Bearing up under such pressures is difficult. We must always be on guard, and we must always be growing to become even stronger in our faith.

Near the end of the first century, the apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were finding it increasingly difficult to remain faithful to God and Christ. The persecution was more severe, and the cost of true discipleship became greater. To encourage them, Peter reminds them of their hope of dwelling with God if they remain faithful, no matter the cost.

Peter taught them to strive to be like God. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). I cannot be a faithful Christian and live a worldly life. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ ... But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:5,9-10). Being a royal priesthood and a holy nation takes hard work, but the results are worth the effort.

To be faithful, we must submit to authority. God has established various forms of authority in our society (rulers, judges, etc.), in the home (the husband), and in the church (elders). We must respect and obey them as they are God’s servants, working for our benefit (Rom. 13:4-6). “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men -- as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:13-17). If I refuse to be a faithful citizen and obey the laws of my country, how can I be faithful to God and obey His law? I must obey each law of my country, unless that law opposes God’s law (Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 5:29).

Strong, faithful Christian mates respect each other in marriage. “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives ... Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:1,7). The marriage relationship requires both parties to love and respect one another. As I grow in this relationship, I can also grow in my relationship with Christ. Like any family, we as Christians have responsibilities toward one another. The more I grow, the better able I am to fulfill these responsibilities.

Peter also reminds us that strong Christians serve and sacrifice for one another. Contrary to what most people think, strength does not come from being served, but through serving others. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9). Jesus often taught that the way to greatness and happiness is through service to others (Matthew 20:25-28). So much more can be accomplished when we are looking for ways to serve others, instead of demanding that others serve us. The serving Christian grows in faith, strength, and hope daily. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

Faithful Christians are willing to suffer for Christ. If He was willing to suffer so intensely for us, should we expect to be free from similar suffering in our Christian life? To the contrary, Peter writes, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:12-16). As Jesus considered it a privilege to suffer for us (Hebrews 12:1-2), so we are honored to suffer for Him. Such suffering is should make us stronger (Romans 5:1-5). We are encouraged in our suffering, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

To grow stronger, we must rely upon God. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7). I must always remember that my ability to endure and grow does not come from within me, but from God. He is the giver of life and vitality (1 Cor. 3:5-7). Without God in my life, I could not accomplish anything of lasting, eternal importance. We, like the Corinthians, need to remember: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

We must also be watchful of our enemy. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our enemy has great power. He is not like us -- he is not always visible, or touchable. Paul reminds us of the powerful nature of our enemy: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12). Satan walks about, back and forth like a stalking lion, waiting for someone to stray from the group so he can catch and destroy him. To remain strong, and protected, we must maintain our fellowship with God and our brethren. We must continue to walk with them. Also, we must always be on guard against the devil and withstand him to the best of our ability. We can be encouraged by the fact that “... He who is in you [God] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan] (1 John 4:4). Always remember: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

To be strong and faithful, I must add certain qualities to my life. Christianity involves removing undesirable characteristics, and adding certain good ones (Colossians 3:1-17). As we diligently add these characteristics, each one enhances the others. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged [cleansed] from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-11). When I possess an active, life-changing faith, a determination to always do right, knowledge to discern right, the ability to control myself, and the ability to resist evil and remain steadfast under life’s pressures, I will then possess humble reverence toward God, love for the brethren, and even greater love toward all. These characteristics must be growing and abounding in my life for me to be the faithful Christian God wants me to be.

Furthermore, the faithful Christian must remember the truth. There are two phases of Christian teaching: preaching the gospel to lost; and exhorting the saved to greater faithfulness. Man often forgets the lessons of the past. The only guarantee against apostasy is ceaseless vigilance against error and constant instruction to those who have received the truth. For this reason, Peter warns and admonishes, “Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease" (2 Peter 1:12-15).I must never become satisfied with my knowledge of Scripture. To remember God’s truth, I must continue to study and meditate upon it (2 Timothy 2:15; Psalm 1; 119:11).

The mature, faithful Christian must reject the false teachers. I cannot remain faithful if I am listening to and following false teachers, for they will lead me farther away from God. Elsewhere we are instructed, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17-18). I must not allow anyone to lead me astray from God’s truth, for only in following that truth can I remain free. To forsake the truth and return to a life of sin will make my life even worse than it was before I became a Christian. "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them" (2 Peter 2:20-21). How terrible to lose the blessing to spend eternity with God.

Finally, Peter reminds us that faithful Christians must prepare for Christ’s return. Please do not be deceived, like many have been, about this grand event. Christ will come again; the world and entire universe will be destroyed; we will stand before the Great Judge and be held accountable for our conduct in this life. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:10-12). In view of this certainty, what manner of person should you be? Are you growing stronger in order to be prepared? Even if Christ waits another thousand years before returning, I will some day die, and I must be prepared! Only by being a strong, faithful Christian can I be ready.

Our Christian faith and life is precious and should be treasured above all else. We must protect it and do everything we can to grow spiritually and remain faithful. Only then can we enjoy God’s greatest blessings. We, like Paul must be able to say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

“You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).