Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit -- Faithfulness

Chuckle: A young couple got the preacher out of bed at 3:00 AM to marry them. The newspaper carried headlines the next morning -- "Preacher ties knot in shirttail!"
Quote: “I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness.” --Mother Teresa

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:16,22 NIV). "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 3:3 NIV).
Do you apply the same standards of faithfulness to your Christian activities that you expect in other areas of your life? If your car starts once every three times, is it reliable? Is it trustworthy? Is it dependable? Is it faithful? In your Christian life, are you faithful to God and to others just some of the time?
The Greek word translated "faithfulness" also could be rendered "faith." As a fruit of the Spirit, the term means fidelity -- being trustworthy and reliable in one's relations with God and others. The Holy Spirit produces continuing faithfulness to Christ in God's people. The Spirit also generates ongoing faith that trusts Christ in all of life's experiences. A faithful person honors commitments even when doing so is difficult.
The faithful person is steadfast and unchanging -- always reliable. This sort of fidelity, or faithfulness, is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments to describe both God's faithfulness to the world and the quality of relationship that Israel and Christians are called upon to have with God and with one another.
Being faithful in the face of great difficulty reminds me of a couple, in another country, that I read about. They were converts from another religion and have been sharing their new faith with others of the same background in their area. Several of these have now become believers. These people are being persecuted because they have changed their religion. Their car has had its tires slashed and its windshield broken. Their cell phone has been stolen. Their son was run down and seriously injured while he was jogging. Some of those whom they have won to the Lord have been fire-bombed. Two little girls were severely injured by the fire in one of these homes. Yet these people continue to rejoice in the Lord and even in their pain and suffering give praise to the Lord for His faithfulness to them. They remain faithful and obedient to Him.
Such touching stories remind us of how easy we have it in this country as Christians. However, even with relatively little threat of persecution, many of us are not nearly as faithful as we should be. Remember, the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to be faithful in all situations, both to your Lord and to other people who are counting on you. . . .
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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