In the world today, we tend to think of faithfulness in human terms. Faithfulness is demonstrated by loyalty to our spouse, friends, duties performed, promises kept, commitments fulfilled, contracts completed, vows observed, and being true to one’s word. Although this faithfulness is certainly necessary for a successful marriage, friendships, and a virtuous life, the fruit of the spirit of faithfulness is referring to our faithfulness in Christ.
The seventh fruit of the Spirit we explore today is faithfulness. What exactly is faithfulness? Faithfulness is a foundational Christian character trait that is necessary for a godly life. As Christians we know and see how faithful God is to us, His word stands true, and His promises don’t fail. There may be many times when we may not feel God’s faithfulness to us, but we must choose to trust and believe that God is truly faithful. The bible is filled with these promises and examples of His faithfulness in our lives.
Because God is faithful to us, we should continue to learn to be faithful to Him. It requires trust and loyalty. Our faithfulness allows us to trust in His promises to us and believe that God is loyal, dependable, and trusting.
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.Focus on His truth Matthew 25:21
Faithfulness is a gift of the Holy Spirit when we trust and believe that God is the master of our life.
To have faith means living according to the will of God. As I wrote previously, the truth is, I need a savior. Faith, as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, means living our life in accordance with God’s will at all times. This allows us to bear good fruit building God’s kingdom of love in the world.
The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. Church tradition lists twelve: charity (love), joy, peace, patience, kindness (benignity), goodness, generosity (longanimity), gentleness (mildness), faithfulness (faith), modesty, self-control (continency), chastity. Galatians 5:22-23 Vulgate As we mature in our faith, aligning our will with God’s, all the characteristics of our spiritual fruits, including the fruit of faithfulness, will grow.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning, understanding, and living in the fruit of faithfulness:
- The Holman’s Bible Dictionary defines ‘faithful’ as “steadfast, dedicated, dependable and worthy of trust.” Interestingly, the word ‘faithful’ comes from the same Hebrew root as the word ‘amen,’ which, as Christians, is a word we use frequently to show our belief in God.
- As with so many of the characteristics listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, faithfulness is first and foremost a key characteristic of God, an idea which is repeated through the Bible. This great faithfulness is closely coupled with His steadfast love.
- Faithfulness is an intrinsic part of God’s character. It is part of who He is. It is God’s faithfulness which means that His promises always stand, and His word can be relied upon. This is evidenced by God sending His Son, to suffer and die for us, and to rise again. This paves the way for the possibility for every one of us to live in harmony and love with him.
- When His Holy Spirit lives in us, it will produce the same characteristic in us: we are called to be faithful. Faithfulness is a result of our efforts in practicing the cardinal virtue of justice, the habit where we consistently give each person their due. Justice, infused by the theological virtue of faith, produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit of faithfulness.
- Our first calling is to be faithful to God, to serve Him first above other things, to put the values of His Kingdom first in our lives, and to be whole-hearted in His Service. Think the first commandment. And none of this is the result of our own efforts, but by meditating on God’s faithfulness to us and by walking day by day in step with the Spirit. When we do this, we will also be more reliable for others – our friends, families, and communities.
- Reflecting the characteristic of our Father in heaven will mean that those around us know they can trust us – we mean what we say, we do what we say we’ll do, and we can be depended on to be consistent in the way we treat people, and in all that we say and do. Faithfulness turns out to have a lot to do with integrity, treating others with a consistency of love that reflects the constant love of our Father.
How do we cultivate the fruit of faithfulness? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Meditate on God’s faithfulness. Spend time with the following scriptures, pray for more of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Fear of the Lord to grow in wonder and awe of His commitment and faithfulness:
- Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5
- Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1
- The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
- Thank Him in prayer. Throughout the day observe how He has been faithful to you and thank Him for His faithfulness, such as giving you the gift of another day, food to eat, a roof over your head. We have so much to be grateful for.
- Ask for strength. We can ask God to give us strength to be faithful to Him, to follow Him more closely, and live a life of more consistent commitment to him as our Lord and Savior.
- Ask for opportunities to practice faithfulness. Seek out ways to be more reliable to those around you, keep your word, be on time, keep in touch…we all need divine help with this!
- Declare Faithfulness! God loves nothing more than to hear His words reflected to Him: I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89:2
In the crazy and chaotic world in which we are living, we can all use this kind of great faithfulness. It is ours for the asking. By aligning our loyalties to God and inviting the Holy Spirit to take the reins of our life, we can live out His will, not mine. We bring God’s loyal, dependable, trustworthy words and actions to those we encounter. We demonstrate what WE BELIEVE!
Smitten with the fruit of faithfulness,