My Monday evening Bible Study group, which is led by Mary Westra, just concluded a study on the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galations 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
In our study, we learned that fruit is attractive, it nourishes us and others, and exhibiting it cannot be achieved by working at it, but only by abiding in Christ. As part of our conclusion, my assignment was to review what we learned about the fruit Faithfulness and compare how our culture’s legal system and philosophies either encourage faithfulness or hinder it.
As we observe today’s culture, we are hard-pressed to find characteristics of faithfulness. In fact, much of our culture epitomizes the opposite of faithfulness. As I dug in, I was struck anew with the impossibility of having faithfulness in my character without God’s empowerment, because these Fruits originate with Him, with His very essence. Faithfulness exists because He is Faithfulness. The more I meditated on the many facets of His faithfulness, the more I was filled with thankfulness and awe at who He is.
The Greek word for faith is pistis, which means the conviction or persuasion in the things relating to God and Christ, and faithfulness and fidelity. The Hebrew word for faithfulness translates to English as loyalty, trustworthiness, steadfastness, and constancy of allegiance. Therefore, God is loyal, trustworthy, steadfast and unfailing. I love how God wants us to know this about Him by recording it in scripture over and over again. Here are some examples:
God is Dependable.
- 2 Tim 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
- Mal. 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change, so you, the descendants of Jacob are not destroyed.”
- Lam 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
- Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
God will not fail us.
- Is. 51:6 “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment, and they that dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.”
- Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Prov 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
- Rev. 19:11 “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.”
God is always present
- Ps 34:15 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry.”
- 1John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He will hear us.”
- Ps 89:33 “But I will not remove from Him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.”
- Heb 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
God is faithful to His word, He does what He says He is going to do, He never lies.
- Heb 6:13-15 “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you.’ And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”
- 1Th 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.”
- And a favorite of mine: Is 25:1 “Oh Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you, I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old (before creation), faithful and sure.”
- Matt 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
- Num 23:19 “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has he said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not fulfill it?
God promises rewards in Heaven for faithfulness during the testing and trials of this life.
- 1 Sam 26:23 “The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness.”
- Matt 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
- Rev. 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
There are many more scripture passages that exhibit God’s faithfulness throughout history, as well as examples for us of the lives of those who lived faithfully. I personally have experienced the faithfulness of God to me throughout the seasons of my life, and when I am wavering, I rehearse them and remember them with gratitude.
The big takeaway for me from all of this is that God has provided in Himself everything we need to produce the Fruit of the Spirit which never fades or rots away. The fruit originates with and in Him. He commands us to produce it and then empowers us to produce it if we abide in Him. That abiding part is the mystery, isn’t it? It is all about cooperating with Him in obedience to the word and Spirit rather than deciding our way is better. It’s about conforming to Christ; having Christ formed in us. It’s self-sacrificial. And impossible without divine empowerment!
He doesn’t have to do all this. Yet He does it because of His great love for His children. As I am understanding the breadth of this more, it brings me to my knees, overcome with gratitude and worship. He is the One Who Is Faithful and True, who in Christ enables me to be faithful in a completely faithless world. The One who empowers us by providing from His nature, and then gives us the reward for something He Himself does! What other response could we have, but to worship?
Amen, Ann! You are right on and I love reading these truths about our faithful and true loving Father God! Thank you!