This week we are going to be looking at “faith that endures” or “faithfulness” as it is referred to in some Bible translations. This is the faith which is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 in the MSG refers to it this way, “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard… We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments…”
There are different types of faith as I have come to know. There is the measure of faith, which is given to everyone, see Romans 12:3. Then there is the gift of faith, see 1 Corinthians 12:9. Then there is the fruit of the Spirit faith as noted above in Galatians 5:22. This is by no means an exhaustive list and our main focus today is looking at the fruit of the Spirit. The faith referred to in the fruit of the Spirit seems to relate more to our lifestyle than it does to our faith as in our belief in God or faith to receive from God. This is why I like the MSG version because it summarizes for us what this fruit does in our lives.
When we have the fruit of faithfulness in our lives, we find ourselves involved in loyal commitments. Faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit enables us to let our yes be yes and our no be no. When we commit to doing something, this fruit enables us to follow through with what we committed to do. When we sign a contract or enter into an agreement or we give someone our word that we will do something, this fruit is the follow through power that enables us to do it.
This is something that comes from the Holy Spirit. Like all our fruit are from the Holy Spirit living within us, this too comes as a result of the Holy Spirit living within us. Therefore, we need to allow Him to do what He needs to do in our lives and in our way of thinking so He can help us not only avoid bad commitments but to avoid not following through with the good ones.
When we commit to following Jesus, it is not an act of sheer will power that enables us to show up to church every single Sunday, whether in person or online. There are always distractions and things that try to get in the way of our commitment to God. But the Holy Spirit does a work in us, that enables us to be faithful in our commitment to God.
Even when we look at tithing and giving our offerings in church, this is something we commit to doing because God’s word requires this of us, Malachi 3. It takes the Holy Spirit doing a work in us and transforming our minds from “the church is after my money” to “I need to honor God with my tithes and offerings and put God first above all else and all these other things shall be given to me”. When we allow the Holy Spirt to do His work in us, the fruit becomes more easily discernable in our lives. This fruit is as simple as showing up when we tell people that we are going to show up somewhere and not cancelling last minute and making up excuses.
The fruit of faithfulness not only allows to stick with things when everything is going well. It also allows us to stick with things even when things get hard. It is faith that endures. That is not to say if something is clearly not working we just hang onto it. The fruit of the Holy Spirit will not allow us to hang onto dead things. God will re-direct us and let us know when it is time to move on from something.
Romans 12:2 says, “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” The fruit of the Spirit flow through us as we learn to live life God’s way. So, if you have been struggling with commitments or faithfulness or sticking with things, you need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform your way of thinking and the way you approach things so that the fruit of faithfulness may more readily flow through you. Then as you do that, you will find that you become more faithful in your commitments and that you become one that people consider to be #loyal as my friends would put it.
Love and blessings,