What does God want most from us? I think the answer to this question lies in one word: faithfulness. If you answered this question simply with “love” or “faith”, I think you would be on the right track, but not quite there.
Why not love? After all the commandment we are given by Jesus himself is to love God and love our neighbors. And to that I say Amen! But faithfulness is what we need to keep the commandment in the first place.
Why not faith? I think faith gets us closer, but too often faith is used in a passive way. We have faith in God, that he will work everything out, and keep his promises, etc. Which is great, and we absolutely need to trust Him, not just have beliefs about him. But this is where faithfulness gets us where we need to be.
You see, this is where so many of us fail and get tripped up. We get focused on being a good moral person, as if somehow we need religion to be moral (answer: we don’t, there are plenty of decent moral atheists out there). No, the call God gives us is higher than that. The fall of man was not simply us making a poor moral decision. It was a failure to be faithful to God.
Faithfulness is active, it demands something of us. If I am faithful to God, then I will obey, honor, worship, love, and serve Him. Faithfulness is taking up our cross daily, and following Jesus. When we talk about being saved by faith, I’m convinced that this is what we are talking about. Not that we are saved by works. But our faithfulness is demonstrated in how we live, in the type of person we are and are becoming. If we say we have faith in Jesus, but are not faithful, then we do not have faith in Him. The two go hand in hand. Not that we won’t still sin, but that even in sin, we acknowledge our failure to be faithful, for even in admitting defeat we are actually being faithful to Him.
How is he our Lord and our King, and our Father, if we are not faithful to Him?