The Bride’s journey is not a journey to somewhere. It’s a journey into Someone. Her goal is communion with the Father, by means of the Spirit, through oneness with Christ the Bridegroom. Her destination is nothing less than Christ’s fullness (Eph. 4:13).
This is the very thing Jesus prayed for in his final hours of life: “that they may also be one in Us” (John 17:21)
What is it Jesus is seeking from His Bride at this crucial time in human history? What is it He passionately desires to find deep in her heart?
It is faithfulness. And faithfulness may not be what we have thought it is.
King David is often referred to as a ‘man after God’s own heart”. So how was David a man after God’s own heart? He reflected God’s own faithfulness. Faithfulness is intrinsic to the Lord’s character; He cannot be otherwise (Is. 11:5; 2 Tim 2:13).
But David was far from perfect. He failed spectacularly when he committed adultery with a married woman who was in no position to refuse His royal advances. He failed also in his family relationships. Despite these failings, God saw fit to call him a ‘man after My own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14).
Moses too was commended by God as “faithful in all My house”, but he also had some serious character flaws. He feared to go before Pharaoh unless God sent someone else with him. He lost the right to lead Israel into the Promised Land through a fit of temper. But more than these things, Moses is remembered as one God called ‘faithful’ (Num: 12:7).
So, contrary to popular opinion, faithfulness is not moral perfection. It can’t be learned by studying and it can’t be practised by following a rigid set of rules.
Faithfulness is not regularly attending church, tithing, caring for the poor, or reading the Bible.
We can choose to do any of those things rigidly, yet still be found by God to be without faithfulness, because faithfulness is not about doing – it is about an attitude of heart.
Faithfulness is also not necessarily the same as faith. There is a certain kind of faith we can exercise yet still be lacking in faithfulness (Matt. 7:22, 23)
Faithfulness, however, cannot be found apart from active, living faith.
It seems to me faithfulness is steadfast pursuit of God in the face of intense pressure. It is being so in love with the Bridegroom that nothing, not even our own failures, can keep us from running after Him with all our strength. It is to have the eyes of our hearts set firmly on Him simply because we have found Him matchless.
Taking spiritual inventory of ourselves from time to time, (only in partnership with the Holy Spirit) can be useful. But those who walk in faithfulness will not allow their failures, weaknesses or sins to become their focus. They may fall, but ultimately their shortcomings cannot overcome them. The desire to follow hard after the Beloved compels them onward in His pursuit.
Faithfulness is born when somewhere along our spiritual journey we are granted a glimpse of the Beloved up ahead of us, and we are forever ruined for anything less.
Unable to look away, we are, as Paul described it, ‘laid hold of’ by Christ: …”I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:8-12).
The phrase means “to seize upon” and “to take possession of”. Elsewhere it is translated ‘apprehended’. These are deeply powerful descriptions of someone who is no longer free to follow his/her own way but has been overcome by another.
To press on also means so much more than dawdling along like a small child behind its parent, distracted by the butterflies and flowers along the way. To press on has intensity about it, a determined objective. To press on is to run with abandon in eager pursuit of the goal. And the Bride’s goal is to be found in Christ, not behind Him, not beside Him, but in Him.
I believe faithfulness is the single most desirable thing the Lord is seeking from His Bride right now. When I asked Him how that faithfulness looks, this was His reply:
“She does not have wandering eyes.”
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2012 and beyond. Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.