Over the past few weeks, we've been listening to John teach about the various trials and tests that we, as the body of Christ, has gone through. If you haven't hear his messages, you definitely want to check out 'Facing Fearful News' and 'Silencing Fearful News'.
One thing that we have been tested in, is our faithfulness. It is this fruit of the Spirit that we will look into through this piece.
Some of the major scriptures we'll be looking at are:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 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. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. ~ Galatians 5:22-26
IT'S NOT ABOUT WORKS
Many times, we want to achieve the fruits of the Spirit through working for it, but they can only come from the Spirit. They're not the fruit of works, but they're called the Fruit of the Spirit. He brings them to fruition as we surrender our daily lives to walk in step with Him.
The fruit of the Spirit are not a result of works, but of surrender - abiding in the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.
~ Darryl Reid ~
The fruits of the Spirit are evident when:
we live in Him
we are Spirit-led and not flesh-led
we don't try to achieve it through our works, but rather by our surrender to God.
Faithfulness is your faith put to action.
~ Darryl Reid ~
WHAT IS FAITHFULNESS?
Let's take a look at a few definitions of faithfulness in the Webster's Dictionary:
1: steadfast in affection or allegiance 2: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty 3: given with strong assurance 4: true to the facts, to a standard 5: full of faith
When we look at the meaning of the word faithful, it can seem daunting - especially if we try to achieve this through our own efforts. Sometimes, we view this standard as impossible to reach and we forget that there is the perfect, constant example of faithfulness in God.
FAITHFULNESS OF GOD
There's a reason why we faithfulness is described a s a fruit of the Spirit - because it grows from the One who is eternally faithful. It is His nature to be faithful. He cannot be the opposite.
When we realize that we now live in Him, our minds begin to accept the truth that faithfulness can now come from us as we walk in step with His Spirit.
Here are a few verses describing God's faithfulness:
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
When we learn to trust and rely on the faithfulness of God, we become grafted into the True Vine (Jesus). You can read more on this in John 15.
NOAH AND THE ARK
It must have taken Noah years to finish the ark - some scholars believe up to 100 years. He demonstrated tremendous faithfulness!
The ark's dimensions were as follows (keep in mind that Noah didn't have a Builder's Warehouse for supplies): 140 m long x 24m wide x 14m tall.
Just think about the mental and spiritual strength it must have took to remain faithful in a time where rain wasn't even a known concept yet!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. - Hebrews 11:6-7
To be faithful is to be full of faith! Without faith, we cannot please God.
STICK IT OUT
Sometimes, we give up too easily. In today's social climate that's influenced by 'cancel culture', the easy way out has been to just stop whenever things get inconvenient.
What do you believe the outcome would have been for gold miners after they didn't get any gold after 15 meters worth of digging?
Or what about Olympic Athletes? One of the biggest differences between us and them is their faithfulness to their training. When we don't see a six-pack after the first 3 weeks of going to the gym, we give up.
I believe what we need more of in the church, is to be steadfast.
What if the very thing you were born for is just beyond the difficulty you are currently facing?
John has been preaching on the Israelites being set freef rom Egypt - when you find yourself in a dessert, and you thought you were on the way to your promised land - the key is to keep moving. Don't set up camp in the dessert.
Faithfulness is following Jesus - even when you don't feel it.
Faithfulness is not driven by feelings - it's driven by faith in God!
FAITH IS RELATIONAL - NOT OUTCOMES BASED
When it comes to faith, we want the outcome, but not the journey. But faith and trust are two sides of the same coin. The more we lean in to trusting Him, the easier it becomes to bear the fruit of faithfulness.
Faith is the currency of heaven. This means that faith is what brings heaven to earth. But when we try to use faith as a means to a transaction, we've missed it. It's always been about relationship.
Why is this relevant? When we think faith is about the outcome rather than the relationship, we get side-tracked, lost and disillusioned. We start - unknowingly - holding God 'ransom' to our selfish desires.
FAITHFULNESS BRINGS FRUITFULNESS
Looking at the master that gave his servants different amounts of talents to steward while he went away (Matthew 25:23), we can see the following truth emerging:
When we are faithful with little, He trusts us with more.
Let's be intentional about being a faithful people, walking in step with His Spirit, being grafted into his faithfulness.