Modes of Faithfulness

Posted: March 28, 2010 by Todd in Theology
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I’ve been thinking about the way different people are faithful (from the Christian tradition) and I can think of at least five modes of being faithful to God.

  1. Piety
  2. Service
  3. Social Justice
  4. Evangelism
  5. Orthodoxy

All of these have some degree of importance in my mind. Yet I think it is the first mode that most people associate with faithfulness. When I was a teenager, I would often try hard to have a daily devotion and struggled to keep this daily discipline, which had a lot of guilt associated with it. This was because internally, I believed that acts of piety were either the only way or main way that I could express my faithfulness to God. I was better at other modes of faithfulness, specifically social justice and service.

Marcus Buckingham’s and Donald Clifton’s great book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, makes the point that it is more effective to capitalize on your strengths than struggle through your weaknesses. This is how I’ve come to view my relationship to God. I am comfortable with the idea that my dominant modes of being faithful are service and social justice, honoring Jesus by way of the “least of these” much more often than acts of piety or evangelism and especially orthodoxy. I do pray, read scripture and so forth and spread the good news, but I no longer worry much about making daily disciplines of these things. Others, no doubt, have different strengths in thier relation to God and I think we’re all at our best doing what comes naturally rather than forcing ourselves to do something different based on religious programming. Free yourself to be faithful based on your giftedness and not on the expectations of others or false perceptions of the expectations of God.


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