“For every ten marriages occurring in America today, five will end in bitter conflict and divorce. That is tragic… but have you ever wondered what happens to the other five? Do they sail blissfully into the sunset? Hardly! Some couples will remain married for the benefit of the children, while others will pass the years in relative apathy. Incredibly, only one or two out of ten will achieve what might be called ‘intimacy’ in the relationship.” –Dr. James Dobson
“One of the telling features of the dominant culture is the value placed on disposability. We have disposable plates, napkins, eating utensils, packaging, razors, diapers, contact lenses and cameras. Indeed, almost every week a new product comes on the market whose primary “virtue” (read “selling point”) is its disposability. Rather than service those things that serve us, we create products that we can simply discard. Within such a culture should we be surprised if we find it easier and easier to “dispose” of relationships once they have outlived their usefulness?” –Philip Kenneson
Some Recent Statistics on Divorce:
There were over two million divorces in America last year.
The average duration of broken marriages was only seven years, half before three years.
Almost half the children in America had no healthy marriage models in the formative years.
Approximately 80% of couples seeking divorce state money was the focus of their disagreements.
90% of children suffer some acute sense of shock when marriage separation occurs.
37% of children are more unhappy about a parental divorce 5 years after than even at 18 months.
The Great Need for Marriages Today…Faithfulness: a life characterized by belief and trust; strict adherence to duty and promises pledged.
“Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right” (Prov. 20:6-11)
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”(Gal. 5:22)
Fidelity; this word (pistis) is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable…it is that which makes a man/woman a person on whom we can utterly rely and whose word we can utterly accept.
There are only three other times the word is used in the New Testament:
(Matthew 23:23) “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
(Romans 3:3) “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?”
(Titus 2:10) “and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”
The Three Components of Faith:
1. The faith: the body of Christian truth implied in faith.
“Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)
2. Faith: a total belief in the work of Jesus for salvation.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
3. Faithfulness: responding to God’s faithfulness by the way we live.
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Matt. 25:23).
Typical Marriage Killers That Challenge Faithfulness (from James Dobson)
- Over commitment and physical exhaustion, the only time couples see each other they are worn out
- Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent
- Selfishness, friction over a marriage with a giver and a taker
- Interference from in-laws, couples not fully emancipated from parents
- Alcohol or substance abuse, as well as pornography, gambling and other addictions
- Sexual frustration, loneliness, low self-esteem and the greener grass of infidelity
- Business failure followed closely by great business success (see Prov. 30:8)
- Getting married too young—there is an 85% divorce rate in America for teens who marry.
There is the fruit of faith or faithfulness (pistis): it means to be faithful and trustworthy; to be loyal and stedfast in devotion and allegiance. It means to be constant, staunch, and enduring. A faithful person denies and sacrifices himself—all he is and has—and trusts God. He believes God and knows that God will work all things out for good. Therefore, he casts himself totally upon God and becomes faithful to God.
- Faithfulness does not doubt God—not His salvation, provision, or strength to help.
- Faithfulness does not begin with God then back off and give up.
- Faithfulness does not walk with God then give in to the lusts of the flesh.
Faithfulness begins with God and continues with God. Faithfulness continues on and on; it never slackens or surrenders.
- God is faithful.
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9).
“Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).
“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).
“Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56).
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1).
Believers are to be faithful.
“And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17).
“Moreover it is required in stewards [believers], that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).
“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after” (Hebrews 3:5).
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5).
Learning Faithfulness Straight From the Source—God Our Father
“This saying is sure and faithful: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim. 2:11-13)
Key Realization: Faithfulness is first about who we are, seen by what we do!
1. What God does is always reliable.
“The works of God’s hand are always faithful and just.” (Psalm 111:7)
2. How God acts is always consistent.
“The word of the Lord is right and true, he is faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 33:4)
3. The manner God loves is always dependable.
“I will declare your love stands firm forever, your faithfulness is established in heaven itself” (Psalm 89:2)
4. The way God stays is always permanent.
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (Psalm 36:5)
5. When God speaks, it is always believable.
“The statutes you have laid down are righteous, they are fully trustworthy.” (Psalm 119:138)
6. When God responds, it is always appropriate.
“I know that your ways are righteous, and in faithfulness you have disciplined me.” (Psalm 119:75)
“Love the Lord, all his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full”(Psm 31:23).
“It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns”(24:46).
“The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut….Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”(25:10-13).
“Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (25:21,23)
“’Thank you God, for what we have…which we know we cannot keep.’ I wish every newlywed couple could capture that (prayer’s) incredible concept. If only we realized how brief is our time on this earth, then most of the irritants and frustrations which drive us apart would seem terribly insignificant and petty.”–Dr. James Dobson
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shutter….You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone….As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:14-26)