vs. Inconsistency
Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice

Key Verse

“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”
Psalm 15:4

The operational definition of dependability is “fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice.” Dependable people do what they say they will do, even when it is difficult. Dependability comes from two Latin words: de meaning “down” or “from” and pendere, “to hang.” Imagine a mountain climber going up a steep rockface. If his foot slips, he would literally be hanging in the air! He is dependant upon a sturdy rope and the strong anchor secured to the mountain. In the same way, can others “hang” their trust on what you say you will do? Can they secure their plans on your word, confident that you will fulfill your commitments?

A dependable person consistently fulfills his mission so that others are unhindered and the goal is accomplished. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).
Just as a link made of yarn will break under pressure, a person who is not reliable will disappoint others and cannot be trusted.

The opposite of dependability is inconsistency. What might happen if you had a loose tooth and you bit into a crisp apple? Or what if you were walking along and your foot suddenly gave way? You were expecting your tooth and foot to perform their normal functions. You were depending on them! However, their instability let you down. The same is true when someone is inconsistent—he lets others down. People are disappointed, projects aren’t completed, and trust is broken. “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint” (Proverbs 25:19). Do you honor your commitments consistently or only occasionally? If you are following through only for your own gain, you will likely compromise when you are no longer benefited. However, when you have God’s love for others and seek their benefit first, you will not want to disappoint them.

Evaluation Questions

  • Before making a commitment to someone, do I first make sure my schedule is open and confirm that my family is in agreement with the plan?
  • Can my family count on me to consistently spend time with them, making special events a priority?
  • Am I using my time wisely so that I am able to carry out what I told others I would do?
  • Do I have to be reminded to do my share of the household responsibilities?
  • Do I view unforeseen difficulties as opportunities to prove my commitment or as excuses to back out of my commitment?
  • What invitations should I graciously decline so that I will not be distracted from fulfilling my duties?
  • Is anyone waiting for me to keep a promise?
  • If I am unexpectedly unable to keep an agreement, do I offer an acceptable alternative?

More About Dependability

“If Jesus Christ died and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
C.T. Studd
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Dependability with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Fulfill my promises.

“If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” NUMBERS 30:2

Clarify what is expected.

“Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” JOSHUA 24:23–24

Get the job done.

“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” JOHN 17:4 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” II TIMOTHY 4:7

Make amends when needed.

“If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution. If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.” EXODUS 22:5–6

Be reliable.

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” PROVERBS 25:19

Keep confidences private.

“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” PROVERBS 11:13

Be careful what I promise.

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” MATTHEW 5:37

Correct my mistakes.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” PROVERBS 24:16

Pull my share of the load.

“If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed” I TIMOTHY 5:16

Live by principle.

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” DANIEL 6:4

Dependability in Scripture

Obadiah Risks His Life to Deliver a Message

“And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth . . . I will surely shew myself unto him to day. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. . . .”
I Kings 18:14–16
“As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years . . .” (I Kings 17:1). Elijah bravely spoke these words to the evil king, Ahab. And just as Elijah said, Israel saw no rain for three years. The land suffered a severe drought and famine. King Ahab hated the prophet Elijah! He blamed Elijah for the lack of rain instead of acknowledging that his own sin had brought this great trouble on Israel. For three years King Ahab tried to find Elijah, but Elijah hid in the wilderness. Finally, God told Elijah to go tell King Ahab that He would send rain again. While Elijah approached Samaria, King Ahab and the governor of his house, Obadiah, were searching for water and grass to keep the livestock from dying. To broaden their search, King Ahab and Obadiah separated. Elijah met Obadiah first. The prophet knew the governor was a God-fearing man serving an unrighteous king. Elijah had a dangerous errand for Obadiah. What would Elijah ask him to do? Could Elijah count on Obadiah to reliably carry out the request, even though it might cost him his life? Would Obadiah and Elijah depend on God to fulfill His promises?

Revealed in Nature

Musk Ox

In order to survive the harshness of the Arctic climate, musk oxen depend on each other to overcome fierce predators and frigid weather. Herds of as many as one hundred musk oxen encircle their young to protect them from their chief enemy, the wolf.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through the study of dependability, children learn how keeping their word affects others and how love is the motivation to be reliable despite difficulties.

View the Dependability booklet sample:

Get the complete Dependability booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Dependability

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.”
St. Francis de Sales