Fruits of the Spirit: Faithfulness
Hello friends! Today we look at the topic of faithfulness. While I recognize that faithfulness in the literal definition has more to do with loyalty than anything, I also view faithfulness as "full of faith" which can also be understood as "full of those things that make our faith what it is" (Hope, gentleness, kindness, selflessness, etc.) In a way we can view faithfulness as not just one fruit of the spirit but the whole bunch of fruits.
I never really got behind the idea of "God wants to be in relationship with you" growing up, in fact, I cringed at the idea of it. It sounded so....culty(?) But, after I became married to McKinsie and Pastor Chris asked me to take the wedding vows my whole understanding of my faith changed. I understand my commitment to God, to the church, to the work of kingdom building to be like my marriage vows. To be faithful to my promise. Any relationship is hard - you don't need some dumb 28 year old to tell you that - but we're tasked to hold faith-full thinking above our resentment, anger, hurt, pride, and greed. We're to always do what's best by our partner and to work to achieve mutual satisfaction.
God asks the same of you today. God asks you not to stray to other affections, just as we hope our partners don't do the same to us. God asks you to always have hope for brighter days, always be steadfast in love, and never let anger win over peace. While not all of us are married we all have taken baptismal vows. I remind you of the Methodist vow here:
On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you: Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?
So, how faithful to that have you been? Do you still reject evil? Do you resist injustice and oppression in all their forms? Do you still allow Jesus to be your North Star, cornerstone, and guide of your life? Do you still trust in God above all else, including yourself? (Trust in God and lean not on your own understanding - Proverbs 3:5)
I do not ask these questions to chide you or make you feel ashamed. Like all promises and vows we make we will undeniable wax and wane in our commitment to them. The central question is not "how much have I failed" but rather "how much better can I get?"
You are God's beloved no matter what and God will never turn God's love from you or this world. So let us be faithful in love and faith-full in deed.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
Are there things in your life that you are loyal to that might take away from your faithfulness to God as opposed to strengthen it? What are those things?
If so, what can you do to reset that compass to make sure that you’re devoted to the true north which is God?
Praying the Hymns
I mean...this one is obvious, right? :) Join in praying Great is Thy Faithfulness in spirit or in song.
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!