"But you promised!"
How many times, as parents, have we heard those words? Our memory of our promises often isn't as acute as our kids' memories, and they can be deeply disappointed when we forget. All children crave promise keeping from the significant adults in their lives. They want to trust that we will do what we say.
I'm glad God doesn't forget His promises. He keeps His Word. When He makes a promise, He will deliver. Faithfulness, one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), is a biblical word describing those who keep their promises. It does not mean "full of faith," but rather "worthy of faith." Faithfulness says, "I will keep my word. I will not fail you. I won't quit on you." Faithfulness is the glue that keeps our actions adhering to our promises.
The faithfulness of God is foundational to our faith: If we can't trust what He says in the Bible, we have no reason to believe. If He doesn't keep His Word, then our salvation is shaky and our hope is empty. But if God does fulfill His promises, then our faith is meaningful and our eternal destiny is secure.
Faithfulness is foundational to a happy, God-honoring home as well. Promising ice cream and then forgetting, threatening punishment and not following through, or singing "I Love You, Lord" in church and forgetting Him through the week all affect our children and can undermine trust. Children who have to deal with continual broken promises may find it difficult to trust the significant people in their lives — including God.
Practice faithfulness, though, and you will provide stability, security and confidence for your children. You will reflect God to them. And you will instill in them the importance of being true to their word.
When your children develop faithful hearts, they will stay in a close walk with God; they will also find more success in their schoolwork, their friendships, their marriage and their career.
Remember: Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, empowered by God. So pray for it. Model it. Teach it. Celebrate it.
On this page, you will find age-appropriate activities and discussions to help you do just that.
- God is faithful; He keeps His promises.
- Faithfulness says, "I will keep my word. I won't fail you."
- Faithfulness is essential for a happy home and godly living.
Family Memory Verse
"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."
For a more in-depth look at faithfulness, read these Bible passages:
1 Corinthians 1:9
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
1 John 1:9
Copyright © 2010 by Kurt Bruner. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
Time With Your Teen
More Family Devotions on Faithfulness
Over the course of a few days, raise your child's awareness of how often you hold her hand: during prayer, while walking, by steadying her, when playing. Later, during a quiet moment, remind her how much you enjoy the sweetness of holding her hand, because you're her mommy or daddy and you want to help her and are faithful to protect her.
Then hold your child's hand palm up, and let her know that each one of her fingers is a reminder of how God loves her and how He is faithful:
||God made me (Creator) |
||God knows me (Omniscience)|
| Tall man
||God loves me (Faithfulness) |
| Ring man
||God protects me (Sustainer) |
||God rescues me (Savior) |
Point your finger to touch the middle of your child's palm, and explain that God hides us in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:2, NIrV).
— D'Arcy Maher
Copyright © 2010 by D'Arcy Maher. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
Pick up a large and a small stone, and with your child, take turns dropping the objects. Ask your child which stone hits the ground first. (The child may expect the heavier stone to fall faster.) Explain that a force called "gravity" pulls objects to the earth. Gravity is totally dependable, or faithful, to do its job 100 percent of the time.
Ask your child to name other things in nature that are dependable. (Seasons change at the same time each year; tides rise and fall on schedule; stars are arranged in the same patterns in the night sky; the moon goes through the same phases each month.) Then remind him that, like gravity, God's promises are for sure (Psalm 145:13).
People may not always keep their promises, but God always will. We can depend on God to do what He says He will do.
— Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. editor
Copyright © 2010 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
Help your tweenager see God's faithfulness in action:
First, schedule a weekend breakfast with your tween. On the selected day, get up while it's still dark. Grab some blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate, and find a place with a good view of the eastern sky.
While you're sitting in the predawn darkness, ask: "What would happen if the sun stopped rising?"
Wait for the sunrise, then ask: "Why do you suppose God is faithful to always keep the sun shining in our lives?"
Read Lamentations 3:22-23. Discuss the following questions with your tween:
- How would you summarize these verses?
- How is today's sunrise an example of what God says in His Word?
- When are other times you see God's faithfulness at work in our lives?
- What are a few ways we can imitate God's faithfulness this week? Let's brainstorm ideas!
Continue your early morning date by going somewhere for a special breakfast or by preparing your child's favorite breakfast at home. Wrap up your time with prayer, asking God to help the two of you always be faithful in your relationship with each other.
— Tim Shoemaker
Copyright © 2010 by Tim Shoemaker. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
Time With Your Teen
Most parents of teens are familiar with the curfew battle — that routine clash where parents create a boundary and teens plead for more time; where parents dole out consequences and teens declare, "It's not fair!"
At the heart of the curfew battle, parents are simply asking teens to be faithful. It's not about controlling their behavior; it's about teaching them to be responsible and trustworthy. Do your teens see how breaking curfew can jeopardize your trust in them?
Faithfulness is a foundational part of relationships — we want to see it in our teens, they want to see it in us, and we all need to know that it defines the God we serve.
Practicing faithfulness in our homes takes a lot more effort than offering a sermonette on the topic. Ask your teens if they can describe a situation when a friend disappointed them and risked their trust. Listen without trying to "fix" the situation. You might gently point out that a lack of faithfulness has serious consequences for relationships. Consider asking your teens if you've disappointed them in some way that jeopardized their trust. This kind of openness will require that you listen and not be defensive. A simple "I'm sorry" or "What can I do to resolve this?" will suffice.
Review a few Scriptures (Psalm 100:5, Lamentations 3:22-23, Matthew 25:21). Discuss with your teens what it would take to earn their trust and inspire them to believe in God's faithfulness. Take hope in knowing that even when we fail in being faithful, God never fails (2 Timothy 2:13).
— Pam Woody
Copyright © 2010 by Focus on the Family. ThrivingFamily.com.
This article first appeared in the January/February 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
Did you enjoy this article? Read more like it.
Subscribe to Thriving Family magazine!