I was teaching some of my students about the fruit of the spirit this week. You know, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? And we spent a little bit more time on faithfulness than I had originally planned.
What is faithfulness? One side of faithfulness is being full of faith, believing for something against all odds. But looking at some of the other fruits in the list, I'm more inclined to believe that faithfulness is sticking with one's commitments to God and their community.
Being faithful means being consistently trustworthy. Like Old Faithful here.
And what's cool about the fruit of the spirit is you get it for free if you're abiding in Him!
Some examples of faithfulness in the Bible:
"Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Thee" (Scripture memorization)
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some" (Church attendance)
"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints" (Constant Prayer)
So many times we have excuses for not being faithful:
"Man, I've just been so tired this week with school starting and this new job. It's really taken a lot out of me." Doesn't the Bible say somewhere about believers being able to run and not grow weary, walk and not faint? Yes it does.
"I'm sorry I wasn't able to help out like I said I could, I've just had so many other things come up this week." I think one side of being faithful is the ability to not make promises you might not keep. Let your "yes be yes" and your "no be no." It's alright to say no to something if you can't be committed to it. Don't be guilted into making promises you can't keep.
"Sorry I'm late, getting the kids in the van was rough, couldn't find the diaper bag and there was so much construction on the way and..." Usually this is how excuses for being late go. It's never just one thing. It would be a powerful witness to an unsaved world if Christians developed a reputation for being on time every time. This means you'll have to risk being early *gasp* to meetings. You'll have to make fewer commitments.
One of my friends says that if you are five minutes late to a rehearsal, you're putting your five minutes ahead of everyone else's five minutes collectively. If there are 11 other people on your team, that's potentially an hour of wasted time.
I realize that this sounds harsh. I get it.
But being faithful when it's uphill is just as powerful as being loving when it's uphill.
Being faithful when it's difficult is just as important as being self-controlled when it's difficult.
Being faithful during extreme circumstances is just as rewarding as being peaceful in extreme circumstances.
So resist the urge to give up when you're bored. Resist the urge to move on before your commitment is fulfilled.
But the bottom line is: abide with Christ and faithfulness will follow.