Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Recently, I attended the funeral of a dear member of my family.  He was nearly 87 years old when the Lord called him to our eternal home.  As I sat in the memorial and funeral services, I was challenged by this man’s life because his “faithfulness” was active until his death.  Prior to his passing, he had just been on a mission trip to Nepal where he trekked through difficult terrain to share the Gospel to unreached people.  His faithfulness was dynamic and alive.

In our world, faithfulness is a rare commodity.  This quality has been attacked and maligned by human selfishness.  We live in an egocentric world where the question is, “What have you done for me lately?”  From companies to marriages, faithfulness is completely dependent on circumstances or the happiness it brings to those involved.  Our society has made it easy and acceptable for a person to terminate a commitment if a set of circumstances appears more appealing elsewhere. Do you and I define our commitment to God in similar terms?  More often than not, a person’s faithfulness to God begins as an active and action-driven pursuit. However, as a person grows in their Christian walk, their faithfulness can become more passive and dormant.  This brings us to question the authenticity of our faith in God.  Did we initially pursue God out of love and worship for Him?  Or did we pursue God because of what He could do for us?   I fear the answer is the latter for many of us. We realize that while we are young our need for God is great because too many parts of our lives are unsettled.  We have concerns about education, career, marriage, finances, kids, etc.  However, after we have reached a certain point in life, our needs are met; therefore, our need for God is less.  Ultimately, our faithfulness to Him has declined to the point where we have taken a spiritual retirement from God just as we have taken a secular retirement from our jobs.

In Galatians 5:22-23, we read that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit.  The Greek word used in this text means “faith.”  From the context, we understand this does not refer to a person’s initial trust or faith placed in Christ, however, this is likely referring to the condition of a believer’s faith over a span of time.  More specifically, this word is referring to the status, durability, or reliability of a believer’s faith, which is a person’s faithfulness.  How reliable is your (and my) faith in God?

Daniel is one who demonstrated faithfulness to God in extreme circumstances.  At a young age, his home, family, and nation were overtaken by a pagan kingdom.  He lived during a time when Israel was on a major spiritual decline.  From this place, Daniel was one of the young men selected to be trained and educated in order to serve the ruling king.  This was a unique opportunity for Daniel to make a life for himself and his future.  He could have viewed it as an opportunity to look out for his own prosperity and success.  However, Daniel did not exalt his own interests above God.  He resolved to remain faithful to God and His Word above himself.  During his time serving the pagan kingdom of Babylon, Daniel was persecuted to such an extent that he faced death.  However, he never allowed his circumstances to overtake his devotion to God.  His faithfulness remained active and alive throughout each trial he faced.

It is important we be attentive and aware of our faithfulness to God. This will impact multiple areas of our life.  First of all, it will impact our devotion to God.  As we remain faithful to God, we will continue to be devoted to Him on a daily basis.  We will not reach a point in this life where we have settled or have had enough of God, in fact, we realize over time our love for Him increases.  Secondly, our faithfulness to God impacts our relationships with those around us.  We want to see the Lord draw our families and loved ones to Him.  God can use our lives to accomplish this work as we grow in our commitment to Him.  Thirdly, faithfulness to God also empowers us to proclaim His Gospel to the world around us.  This is a call we too often dismiss or decline. However, as we grow in faithfulness to Him, we realize how greatly passionate God is about saving a dying world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As we read, faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit.  As with all fruit, we can inspect and test this fruit (faithfulness) to see if it is healthy and strong within us.  May God help us to inspect this fruit in our lives and prune out the things that are impairing our faithfulness to the Lord.

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