A guest post on faithfulness by Pamela Keener
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Fruits of the Spirit – Faithfulness
Many people are surprised when I tell them I wasn’t raised a Christian. I didn’t grow up knowing about God or attend church. I knew nothing about God’s faithfulness, nor did I have a relationship with Jesus.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s, when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that I started wondering about God and the Christian faith.
At that time, my husband and I started attending a small church with our son. We attended that church for a little while and made the decision to profess Jesus as Our Savior. We gave Him our hearts and were baptized.
THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT
When we make the decision to follow Jesus, God gives us a very special gift. One that will change our lives if we allow it to. A gift wrapped up all pretty, topped with a bow and everything. The gift of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us and becomes an important part of our lives.
I love how Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:24-25 (NIV):
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
What a beautiful reminder that, as followers of Jesus, we are new creations in Christ. Called to take off our old selves and selfish ambitions, and to live according to God’s own Spirit. Called to be set apart for God and His Kingdom.
Sometimes that’s hard to think about, isn’t it?
We live in a society full of hustle and bustle, one that focuses primarily on “me” and “what you can do for me.” And while that reality can be quite discouraging, there is GOOD NEWS to be found!
You see friends, when the Holy Spirit took up residence in each one of us, He gave us the power and wisdom to live a life that is set apart and holy for God. By accepting Jesus and allowing His Spirit to live within us, we have been given 9 special gifts from the Holy Spirit. Each one is different but equally important.
Scripture calls these gifts “fruits” and lists them specifically in Galatians 5:22 (NIV):
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
These gifts are timeless, never going out of style. They visibly represent attributes of our Christian lives, showing a growth and maturity that can be found as a result of surrendering our old lives to Jesus. And they can only be a result of our active cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Today, let’s talk about my favorite gift of the Spirit – Faithfulness. The more I read and learn about these timeless gifts, the more I’m left believing that faithfulness is the foundation upon which all the other gifts flow.
The more that we learn about God, the more we see that faithfulness is at the very essence of His character. It is WHO He is. Scripture reminds us of this in 2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV):
“if we are faithless, he remains faithful…”
Since faithfulness is such a vital characteristic of who God is, let’s talk about what exactly this fruit of the Spirit is.
Holman’s Bible Dictionary defines faithful as “steadfast, dedicated, dependable and worthy of trust.” Interestingly enough, the word faithful comes from the same Hebrew root as the word amen, which as Christians, is a word we use to show our belief in God.
We see “faithful” used to describe God’s relationship with us in Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV):
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Throughout Scripture, we see examples of God’s faithfulness in action. One of my favorite examples is the story of God’s promise to never again destroy the earth because of mankind’s sinful nature.
Genesis 9:12-15 (NIV) tells this story as God delivers His faithful promise.
“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
The Bible is filled with God’s promises and examples of His faithfulness in our lives. We see many great verses that speak to how He is steadfast, keeps His word and is a dependable presence in our lives. I invite you to look at the following verses for reference.
• Steadfast & Dedicated – (Mal 3:6, Ps 25:10, 2 Thes 3:5, Dan 2:44, Heb 6:19-20)
• Dependable & Trustworthy – (2 Sam 22:3, Ps 9:9, Ps 59:16, Ps 62:7, Ps 119:138)
By looking at God’s character and His faithful nature, we can live out the fruit of that faithfulness in our own lives.
HOW TO LIVE OUT FAITHFULNESS
Because God is faithful to us, we learn how to be faithful in our relationship with Him and in our relationship with others.
Let’s look at our faithfulness to God first. By trusting in God’s faithfulness in our lives, we begin to develop loyalty and trust in Him. He is faithful to us and we are faithful to Him. We put our hope and trust in Him and in Him alone.
Scripture is full of beautiful verses that focus on us faithfully trusting God. One of my all-time favorites is Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV):
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
We hang to that hope as we place our trust in God in every situation, and we know that God is faithful in all things.
We trust in His promises, obey His commands, and live a life that chases after Him wholeheartedly.
From our relationship with God and the faith we have put in Him, then flows our ability to live out faithful relationships with others.
We strive to live faithful marriages, in which we love and surrender ourselves to our spouses. We build faithful relationships with our children, in which we give selflessly and continually point them to Jesus. And we focus on having Godly friendships with others.
God’s faithfulness is at the center of all these relationships and reflects this beautiful gift from the Holy Spirit.
So, if you’re like me, you see the importance of being faithful to God and living out faithful relationships with others, but perhaps you struggle with how to apply this to your life.
That’s always the hardest part, isn’t it?
So, here are two ways to live out and grow in our faithfulness to God and others.
- Pray. Talk to God. Tell Him you want to be more faithful in your love for Him. Ask Him to help you in the areas that you struggle with. Ask Him to guide you in your relationships. Tell God what’s on your heart and ask Him to change you from the inside out.
- Read & Study. Get yourself deep in God’s Word. Meditate on His promises and focus on His truths. Let them enter deep into your heart and flow into your relationships each day.
As you focus on living out this fruit of the Spirit, you’ll begin to grow in your faith, and your relationship with God and others will become deeper as well.
One beautiful example of walking faithfully with God can be seen in the life of Abraham. God called him to leave his home and family and follow wherever God led him. What a faith-changing request!
Abraham had to trust God and put his faith in God’s promises. He had to step out in faith and rest in God’s faithfulness over his life. And we saw how God transformed Abraham’s faith along the way. To Abraham, none of this journey made any sense. But he chose to trust in God’s faithfulness and His promises throughout the journey.
That faith was rewarded as Abraham is listed in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.
What a story and life he lived!
What a legacy he left!
And it all stemmed from this fruit of the Spirit. For God was faithful to Abraham, and in turn Abraham was faithful to God and those around him.
It’s a timeless story built on a timeless gift from the Holy Spirit. Faithfulness. The foundation upon which we, as followers of Jesus, must live.
You can find Pamela nestled in a tiny Colorado town close to the mountains, with an iced caramel coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. She proudly proclaims herself as a Jesus follower, blessed wife of 21+ years, and a momma to 6 wonderful kids! With a passion for inspiring and encouraging women to seek Jesus in their daily lives, she radiates the love and grace of God in both her writing and speaking ventures. An encourager of women, ministry leader, and advocate for the poor, her writing will bring nourishment to your soul and joy to your heart.
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