We’ve almost completed our study on the fruit of the Spirit. With three more fruit to go, today we’re going to consider faithfulness.
Be Like Dogs, Not Snakes
When we hear the word “snake,” most of us recoil with fear. Granted, there are some people in the world who are genuine snake lovers, but for most of us, we simply don’t like snakes, and for good reason. Snakes are sneaky and many of them are dangerous. We don’t trust them. Truth be told, though, snakes probably don’t like us just as much as we don’t like them.
On the other hand, when we hear “dog,” most of us, unless we’ve had a bad encounter, get warm and fuzzy feelings inside. We like dogs. After all, most dogs are fun, kind, and gentle. But owners of dogs also know that they’re faithful animals.
We all want friends that are more like dogs than snakes. We want friends who can be trusted, who are faithful, and who are loyal. We don’t want friends who talk bad about us behind our backs, who let us down, and who are never there for us when we need them the most.
God wants us to be faithful people. What, then, does the Bible say about faithfulness?
What Does the Bible Say about Faithfulness?
If you haven’t already detected a theme, the fruit of the Spirit reflect God’s own character. We should be faithful because God Himself is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). As Paul tells us in one of his letters, we ought to be imitators of God because we are God’s children (Ephesians 5:1). So, what does the Bible tell us about God’s faithfulness?
The Bible tells us that God’s character never changes (Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6). Even when we’re unfaithful, God remains faithful because He cannot deny who He is (2 Timothy 2:13). God always does what He says and He never breaks His promises (Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 89:34). We’re also told that God’s faithfulness is immense (Psalms 36:5; 89:8), that it never runs out (Psalms 119:90), and that it never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23). God’s faithfulness is like a shield, a place of refuge to His followers (91:4), and it is connected to our salvation (Psalm 40:10). Furthermore, God is faithful to forgive us, even when we mess up (1 John 1:9). The Bible even tells us that He is faithful in helping us to escape temptation and to endure through it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Now that we’ve considered what the Bible says about God’s faithfulness, let’s consider what it says about God’s expectations for us to be faithful people.
First off, it’s good to know that God’s faithfulness to us doesn’t depend on our faithfulness to Him (2 Timothy 2:13). Our relationship to God doesn’t depend on our good works (Ephesians 2:8-9); nevertheless, God desires for us to be people who are faithful. Our faithfulness to God is connected to our love for God. Note what Jesus says to the disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV). The letter of 1 John makes a similar point (1 John 2:3-6). We are to be faithful to God’s commands out of our love for Him and because we want to please Him. Furthermore, as Christians, God has also given us responsibilities that require faithfulness (Luke 12:42-48). Paul, one of Jesus’ followers, understood the tasks that he had been given, and recognized the importance of being faithful, no matter what other people thought. He also realized that we’re held responsible to God for the tasks that we’ve been given (1 Corinthians 3:13; 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
There’s much more that could be said about faithfulness, but it boils down to loving God and wanting to be more like Him.
How Do I Do This?
So, what steps might we take in becoming faithful as God is faithful?
- Spend time reading about and reflecting on God’s faithfulness. As you do this, use some of the passages mentioned above.
- Ask yourself the following questions. How has God been faithful to me? What kinds of qualities does God have that I want in my own life in order to become more faithful?
- Once you’ve done the Step 2, take a look at your own life. On a piece of paper or in your journal, list out ways that you reflect God’s faithfulness in your life and ways where you don’t reflect God’s faithfulness. Then write out some practical ways that you can be more faithful.
- Thank God for His faithfulness in your life and then ask Him to help you be more faithful.
As I’ve mentioned before, these steps aren’t a magical formula. They are practical steps meant to help you move closer to God.
As you reflect on the fruit of faithfulness, remember that God wants us to be like dogs, not snakes! He wants us to be people who are faithful.