Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.1 Corinthians 4:2
Let’s continue to look at the fruit that we bear when we abide in Jesus. Jesus assures us (in John 15) that he is the vine and we are the branches. And when we stay attached to Jesus, we will naturally bear his fruit. What is that fruit? Paul identifies this fruit in Galatians 5, in a list that he calls “the fruit of the Spirit.” They are: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” These are qualities of a spiritual life that naturally occur when we abide in Jesus. I have looked at six of these so far, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. Now let’s look at the seventh: faithfulness.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about faithfulness in the Bible, I think about God’s faithfulness, not mine. One of my favorite hymns, for example, is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which is about God’s faithfulness (and based on Lamentations 3:22-23 – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”) And there are many other passages about God’s faithfulness, such as Psalm 100:5 – “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.” How grateful we are for God’s faithfulness! Even when we disappoint God, he remains faithful to us. (“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself“ 2 Timothy 2:13.)
But what about our faithfulness? What does that look like, and how is it a fruit of the Spirit? For us, there are two kinds of faithfulness – to God, and to one another. But both of these are a fruit of the Spirit, because they both depend on our relationship with God. Simply put, when we stay connected to God, we are more faithful, both to God and to one another. Faithfulness is not an act of the will, but a fruit of the Spirit. And this is good news! Because it offers us a clear path toward being more faithful. I want to be faithful. I want to keep my promises to God, and I want to keep my promises to my family and my church. And now I know how to do that. Stay connected to God – pray, worship, read the Bible, and do all of those things that nurture my faith. Because only when my faith is full can I be faithful.
So, back to those passages about God’s faithfulness. Can they give us a picture of what our faithfulness might look like, when our faith is full? Absolutely! We can strive toward having a steadfast love that never ceases, and sharing God’s mercy every morning and every day. Our faithfulness will never be “great” in the same way that God’s is, but it can certainly be a gift to all who know us. Our world needs people who are faithful, and it all starts with people who are filled with faith. So, may your faith be made full as you abide in Christ, that your faithfulness may be a blessing to all.