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Biblical Subjects

 

Character Traits of the Spiritual Life

Consistency


Richard Hollerman

We’ve all known people who were changeable, “driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6), or “tossed here and there by waves” (Ephesians 4:14).  They are fickle, or “characterized by erratic changeableness or instability, especially in affections or attachments.”[i]  In contrast, we also know that consistency is to be desired.  This is “stead adherence to the same principles, course, form.”[ii]  Consistent means “being in agreement with itself; coherent and uniform,” and “reliable, steady.”[iii]

We are glad to be able to rely on the unchangeable nature of God.  “For I, the LORD, do not change” (Malachi 3:6).  We also read, “You are the same, and your years will not come to an end” (Psalm 102:27).  Christ’s nature is also unchangeable: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  James refers to God “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” 1:17).  Since God is changeless, He is reliable and His promises secure.

We also are to have a consistency in our living.  What about you?  Can your family and friends depend on you to be consistent in your relationship with them?  Do they know that what you purpose one day will continue to be your purpose the next day?  Or do you start a project one week and a week later you abandon it?  Can they depend on you to be there for them at all times or only when it suits you?

Onesiphorus proved to be a loyal brother during Paul’s imprisonment awaiting sentencing (2 Timothy 1:16-18).  On the other hand, Paul was disappointed with Phygelus and Hermogenes and others who turned away from him (v. 15).  They lacked consistency in their loyalty and commitment to Paul and his needs.  Paul discovered that Demas “deserted” him because he loved this present world (4:10), but Luke continued with him (v. 11).  Paul lamented, “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me” (v. 16).  These people lacked a consistency in life, one that would cause them to continue on from day to day and from year to year with the Lord, doing His will, and serving His people.

Jesus found the same thing in his life.  Many disciples followed Him, but the time came when they fell away.  John informs us that “many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66).  But His own disciples—eleven of them—continued to believe in Jesus and followed Him (vv. 67-71).  Let us be like the disciples who continued on and on, without wavering.  This is why Paul urged the Colossians to “continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (1:23).

Are you consistent and constant in your commitments?  Are you consistent in your lifestyle?  Do you manifest consistency in your faith in Christ, your commitment to Scripture, and your walk with the Lord?  Do people know that you are not changeable and that you will be the same faithful and devoted person tomorrow as you are today?  Let’s renew our commitment to a genuine and sincere consistency in our daily life.

 



[i] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[ii] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[iii] The American Heritage College Dictionary.