Realizing that three of my friends are electrical engineers and that I have only very basic knowledge of electronics, I am stepping into dangerous territory. Therefore, if any of my engineer friends feel the need to correct or enhance this metaphor, they are encouraged to do so.

Here's my flow of thought:

1. From the definition of faith in The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, four descriptors rise to the surface:
  • believing
  • trusting
  • fervent
  • convicted
  • confident
2. From this a trial balloon definition of faithfulness: consistent and intentional tending toward God and God's desires.

3. From this definition arose the analogy of the feedback circuit:

Faithfulness is a self-correcting system with at least three sources of feedback: self-reflection, the faith community, and, most importantly, God the Spirit dwelling in the believer's heart. The initial decision to follow Christ forms a hard-wired intention. When the signal goes awry, the various sources of feedback bring the signal back to the original intention. There is still response to inputs, but the responses are within pre-determined parameters. The particular parameter for faithfulness is conformity to Christ.

In addition to providing essential feedback, the Holy Spirit also acts as a dead man switch, insuring that there is no permanent damage to the hardware (that would be us).
Remaining Questions
  • What are the inputs and how do they affect faithfulness?
  • What can we do--as individuals and as a faith community--to increase faithfulness?
  • What happens when the dead man switch is triggered? What does recovery look like?
  • Can we or circumstances block the feedback? What happens when we do so?


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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