Cultivating Faithfulness
by Ken Barnes
Published on February 3, 2024

Cultivating Faithfulness

 Trust in the Lord and do good; Live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. (Psalms 37:3 NASB)

 Christians love mountaintop experiences, but faithfulness grows in the valley.

In the early 1970s, I came to faith in Christ. Speakers came through our Church to share their mountaintop experiences. It appeared they were jumping from one peak to another. Spiritually speaking, I could not get out of bed without tripping over my own feet. I said, Lord, what’s wrong with me? This question remained until I got to know some of these speakers. Between these mountaintop experiences, these men usually had a time in the valley where they tripped some over their feet, just like me. They conveniently had omitted their valley, which had made their mountaintops possible. Our great men and women of faith are clay jars just like us. The only difference is that God may have sovereignly used them for his glory,

A farmer needs to cultivate his soil before he can grow crops. He needs to turn the ground over and plant the seeds. He fertilizes the soil and provides the moisture that enables the seeds to germinate. It does not just happen; it takes a lot of work. Is it any different in developing faithfulness? We need to be reading the Word of God and allowing it to turn over the fallow ground in our hearts. When our lives don’t measure up, we must apply God’s Word to our hearts through repentance. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 NASB), not a gift. God bestows gifts, but fruits are grown.

Most crops are not grown on the mountaintop but in the valley. It is the time when there isn’t much going on in our lives that God is often working faithfulness into our character. David cared for a few sheep and was not present at first when Samuel sought a king. The ability David gained in the sheepfold to slay the lion and the bear was what he used to kill Goliath. Never despair of the mundane in your life. God uses the ordinary to bring about the extraordinary. Keith Green, a Christian musician from the past, once said, “If you find yourself in the valley, farm it.”

 Wherever you find yourself, God is at work cultivating faithfulness.

Ken Barnes worked with Youth With A Mission for seventeen years, primarily involved in discipleship training and evangelism. He is the author of The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places, published in 2011 by YWAM Publishing, and Broken Vessels in 2021 through Kindle Direct Publishing.  He holds a Master of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Curriculum and Instruction. He currently is a freelance writer.

Featured Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

1 Comment

  1. David Duncan

    Mountain top stories are the norm on most forms of social media, where folks share their idealized selves. We often keep the unvarnished seasons, from the valley, to ourselves. Yet, as you point out, the valley is where truth growth usually happens. Great piece, Ken. I love the Keith Green quote; it went straight into my daily journal this morning. Blessings!


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