The surprising definition of faithfulness – Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness, Part 3

In the previous post we learned that for faith to be true faith, it must lead to a life that is faithful.  And that brings us to the surprising definition of the word Paul used in the Fruit of the Spirit passage.

The word Paul used in Galatians 5:22, “faithfulness,” is defined as “the state of being someone in whom complete confidence can be placed.” Two synonyms are: “trustworthiness, dependability.”  Isn’t that interesting?  We talk quite a bit about how we need to trust in God.  But there is a sense in which the better question is God asking, “Can I trust in my people?”   Of course, God does NOT need salvation!

That’s not what God is asking when he questions us, “Can I trust in you?”  Instead think about the mission of his Kingdom. Faithfulness looks more like God asking the question: “Can I trust my people to pursue my mission?  Are they faithful to my cause?  Are they faithful to me?”

Are we being faithful? Can God trust in us to do the work that he has called us to do?  Are we being people in whom God can place complete confidence? 

You might think, “Geez, no one is that faithful!  No one is perfect.”   That’s true.  No one is perfect.  If we’re honest, there is no one in whom God could have COMPLETE confidence.  And if you are thinking that faithfulness cannot possibly mean perfection, I agree with you.  I’m not making an argument for perfection.  But I am making an argument that God wants us to grow more and more faithful.  He does not want us to be satisfied with mediocrity!   

Faithfulness is consistent. 

Faithfulness is not passive, it is active. 

Faithfulness looks like a parent, stepparent, grandparent who supports the children in their family. A husband who cares for his wife with Alzheimer’s. A father who cares for his paraplegic son.

We can focus on dramatic examples.  But what does faithfulness look like in middle class America, when we are swamped with bills, with work, with a million events, and we are just trying to keep it together?  We are much more focused on whether God is going to be faithful to us. 

For some of us, to think that we need to grow more faithful to God can feel overwhelming.  So, we have to ask why?  Why does the idea of growing faithfulness in our lives feel overwhelming?  When we know that God’s way is the best way, the way of abundant life, why do we inwardly rebel?  Shouldn’t we be excited and eager to pursue growing faithfulness to God?  The truth is that we might not feel that way.  Why?

Check back in to the next post, as we’ll try to answer that question, examining four potential roadblocks to unfaithfulness.

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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