Echoes From the Campfire

He was the soul of honor in all the ways of his calling.  The very blue of the sky, bending evenly over all men alike, seemed to symbolize his instinct for justice.  Faithfulness and manliness were his chief traits; his standard—to be a ‘square man.’”
              –Emerson Hough

    “May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.”
              –1 Samuel 26:23 (NKJV)
We had an interesting missionary speaker in church last Sunday.  He and his wife are missionaries to seafarers.  In all my years I have never heard of missionaries to seafarers, but why not?  Everyone needs Jesus.  In the message he referred to the grandmother and mother of Timothy and what they passed down to Timothy, but two words caught my eye–“genuine faith.”

         “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”
                   –2 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV)

Some versions translate it “sincere faith.”  The Amplified translates it this way, “sincere and unqualified faith [the surrendering of your entire self to God in Christ with confident trust in His power, wisdom and goodness.”  But what I thought about was that if there was “genuine faith,” there must also be ungenuine, fake, hypocritical faith.  
    In the Old Testament there is not a word for “faith” as it is rendered “faithfulness.”  True faith always results in the person being faithful.  Paul and Silas sang in prison and they would have done so whether they were delivered or not–that is genuine faith, being faithful in dire circumstances.  Daniel was found faithful and went into the pit with the lions.  The Hebrew children were faithful whether or not they were delivered from the fiery furnace.
    Many have tried to define “faith.”  They give definitions of the familiar verse of Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV)  The “substance,” hmmmm.  The NASB translates it “the certainty,” while the HCSB, “the reality, the ESV, “the assurance.”

         “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
                   –Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified)

    One thing for sure, faith is not wishful thinking or trying to conjure up the Spirit.  Faith is assurance.  I remember many years ago I spoke at a church (notice I used the term “spoke” not “preached for I am not up to that level) and I announced that my topic for the Sunday evening service was faith.  Now that was the time of “hyper-faith” and the “blab-it-grab-it” mentality.  My message was simply this:  get up in the morning, brush your teeth, get ready for work, do all the normal things of life and no matter what happens to you that day–God is in charge.  That is faith.  Needless to say it didn’t go over so well.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is the “gift of faith” found in 1 Corinthians 12, but I was speaking of regular ordinary faith, the kind where you sing in prison, the kind where you praise in difficulties, the kind you live your life by.
    As God is faithful so are we to be found faithful.  We are to live our lives in faithful service to Him.  We are to obey His commandments as His faithful children.  In the hard times we are to be found faithful.  In the duties of life, the great and small, we are to be found faithful.  We are longing for those words from Jesus, “well done, good and faithful.”  Faith then is living your life knowing that God is there with you.
    Paul saw “genuine faith” in Timothy.  A faith that was passed down from his mother and grandmother.  And since “grandmother” is mentioned I remember the times in which I saw my Grandma’s faith.  I remember her sitting in her rocking chair, her legs paining her so badly, where she would cry out, “Oh, my legs hurt, but my heavenly Father promised me that He would not give me more than I could bear, so I know that I can bear this.”  Faith!  Faithfulness!
    I could give more illustrations, and I’m sure you can add your own.  Be a person of faith, a person of faithfulness where when someone looks at you they see a faithful person unto the Lord.  A person steadfast in the Word–faithful.  A person that when the storms of life come, and even disasters, they are steady, always knowing that the Lord is with them–always living in faith, being faithful!