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Day 16: Solid As A Rock

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

Faithful – What does it mean to be faithful? What do you think of when you hear these words? Do you think about a marriage vow or a promise to someone? Do you think about unwavering commitment or loyalty? If we look at the way John uses this word, we find some other imagery that helps us understand what faithfulness really is. Then we will know why Jesus can say, “Be faithful unto death.”

John uses this word only one time in his gospel. When Jesus confronts Thomas’ disbelief, Jesus invites Thomas to examine the nail’s holes and the scar from the spear. Jesus says, “Come and look, and as a result, be believing.” That is the Greek word pistos. It is an adjective, not a verb, so our English translation sounds funny. We would like to say, “Come and believe,” but that would make pistos a verb, and John doesn’t use “believe” that way. When John talks about believe, he always uses the verb pisteuo (92 times). For John, belief is an action, not a set of statements. To be faithful is to act in a certain way.

How do I act when I am faithful? For that answer, we need to look at the Hebrew thought behind this Greek word. We arrive at Numbers 12:7, for example, where the Greek word pistos translates the Hebrew word ‘aman. This Hebrew word paints a very tangible picture. Its primary meaning is to provide stability and confidence. It is used to describe the foundation of a house, the support of pillars, a nurse holding a baby in her arms, a nail driven into a post. It is about things that can be relied upon; things that are solid as a rock. Suddenly faithfulness is no longer simply mental affirmation. It is no longer just about what I think. It is about the concrete actions of unshakeable trust. It is built on granite instead of sand. It is trusting that the nurse will not drop the baby. It is knowing that the pillars will hold up the roof. To be faithful unto death is to be steady as a rock no matter what the storm may bring.

Faithfulness is not found in my signature at the bottom of a list of beliefs. Faithfulness is found in the behaviors that reflect those beliefs. Yes, I must know what I believe, but until my knowledge is converted into real, tangible actions, it is not faithfulness.

The Old Testament uses pistos for another Hebrew word, ne’um, a word that means “an oracle or prophetic saying from God.” You can find this in 2 Samuel 23:1. Why is this also pistos? Because it comes from God’s mouth and it is totally and undeniably trustworthy. You can act on it. It is rock-solid truth. Accepting the oracle of God means more than simply acknowledging that God spoke it. It means hearing and acting on it. I cannot be faithful until I put it into practice.

God is a Rock. Imitating that rock-like quality, doing what He says is being faithful. So, polish the granite in your life. Sculpt the marble. Shine like a diamond. You were called to be a geological marvel.



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