The Fruit of Faithfulness

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“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

– Hebrews 10:23

God is faithful to fulfill all that He has promised. He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise to Noah. He told Abraham to look up at the sky and count the stars as a sign of the promise He made to him. We need only look up to remember the promises He has made to us. When we look at the fruits of the Spirit, we quickly begin to realize that they are all rooted in the character of God. The more like Him we become – the more fruit we bear. We can be faithful, because He has been faithful.

Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is trusting in what we cannot see. We trust gravity to continue holding our feet to the ground. When we flip a light switch, we trust the electricity to light  up the room. We trust our heart to keep beating. We trust our lungs to keep filling with air. We trust our minds to keep instructing our hands and feet to move and operate. We are trusting in invisible, unseen things. We are trusting in work that is being done behind the scenes, beyond what our eyes can see. We don’t see the rainbow until after the storm. The stars shine brightest when the night is darkest. We take the first step of faith before we see the stairs in front of us. Peter didn’t step out of the boat because the waves seemed steady and secure enough to hold His weight – He stepped out of the boat because He saw Jesus. Our faith looks like foolishness to those who don’t know our Jesus. Those who can’t see with eyes of faith, don’t understand.

As the song Waymaker says, “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working.” We know He is faithful, because we have experienced His faithfulness. He is a promise-keeper, a miracle-worker, a light in the darkness. That’s who He is – His faithfulness is part of His identity. To be faithful is to be steadfast. It means holding steady through trials and tribulations. It means showing up consistently when fears and doubts arise. It means being reliable. It means being dependable. We can depend on our God to be there in our times of need, because He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). We can trust Him because He is worthy to be trusted. We can put our faith in Him because He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised.

“The primary reason we lose faith is because we forget the faithfulness of God. Maybe that’s why the word ‘remember’ is repeated 250 times in Scripture.”

– Mark Batterson

When we remember God’s faithfulness, we are reminded of our own faithlessness. In Matthew 26:75 when Peter heard the crow of the rooster, he remembered what Jesus had said to him… “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” The same Peter who had enough faith to step out of the boat and onto the crashing waves towards Jesus, had denied Him three times, just has Jesus had told Him he would. Scripture says Peter then “went out and wept bitterly.”

But God is faithful, even in our faithlessness. He doesn’t leave us. He doesn’t abandon us. His promise still stands. We have hope because of the resurrection. The cross was not the end of the story. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on the Sea of Galilee and three times He asked Peter, “Do you love me?” And three times Peter responded “Yes, Lord, You know I do.” And three times Jesus responded, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus had made a promise that Peter was the rock on which He would build His church, and that promise was not made void through Peter’s denial. Peter went on to feed the sheep. He helped establish the church. And Peter was martyred for his faith – dying upside down on a cross because he didn’t deem himself worthy to die in the same manner as our Lord, Jesus Christ. Faithfulness comes with a cost. Jesus commands us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).

One of the best examples of the faithful love of our God is the story of the Prophet Hosea. God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, a woman who was described as a harlot and an adulteress. In their marriage, Gomer bore three children. The Bible is not clear if the second two children were biologically Hosea’s, but their names indicate that they were not. Gomer had been unfaithful to her husband. Eventually she left her husband and returned to a life of harlotry, but Hosea went back and purchased her from those who were holding her captive. He ransomed her. He redeemed her. Their story is symbolic of the redeeming love our God has for us. When we run back to our life of sin, God brings us back into His arms of love. He paid the ultimate cost for our redemption. His love is unrelenting. He never gives up. He doesn’t stop pursuing us. His love never fails. In our unfaithfulness, He remains faithful.

He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His love knows no bounds. Psalm 89:8 says, His faithfulness surrounds Him. We need only get close enough to Him to experience the fullness of it. His faithfulness strengthens and protects us (2 Thessalonians 3:3). His faithfulness does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to withstand, but gives us an escape route so that we can be faithful to endure the temptation when it comes (1 Corinthians 10:13). And when we allow ourselves to fall into temptation, when we miss the escape route and fall into sin then we need only confess and He is faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:9). 

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 1:6

It is difficult for us to wrap our minds around the faithfulness of our God when we live in a culture that is “increasingly characterized by rapid change and instability” (Life on the Vine by Phillip Kenneson). We live in a culture where things are not built to last. Your cellphone only lasts until the latest version comes out. Furniture is often cheaply made and falls apart after only a few uses. We buy disposable cups, plates, and silverware that we can throw away after a single use. We design products that will “save us time” but what do we actually do with the time we’ve saved? It takes time to build something that lasts. It takes time to design something that fulfills a purpose. It takes time to maintain something that will continue to endure throughout generations. Even our jobs and our relationships seem temporary and fleeting. In businesses where you used to interact with people, now you’re interacting with computers and screens. We live in a “cancel” culture where people are dismissed if their views don’t align with your own. We live in a culture where “ghosting” is a term the younger generation uses to describe simply cutting off communication in a relationship without explanation. It takes commitment to maintain a relationship. When we put time and energy into maintaining our relationships and our commitments with people, we are making an investment in a future we cannot see. We are practicing faithfulness.

We practice faithfulness when we abide in the love of God. We practice faithfulness when we trust God’s promises. We practice faithfulness when we make and keep promises. We practice faithfulness when speak truth. We practice faithfulness when we keep showing up. We practice faithfulness when we keep putting forth effort.
Our efforts are weak and imperfect – but they make our Father proud! His faithfulness gives us the strength to endure.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

In the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:15 Jesus says, “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote, “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:5-7).

We can’t bear spiritual fruit if we are not firmly rooted in who God is. God’s faithfulness  lays the foundation for us to bear the fruit of faithfulness. As we trust Him, our roots extend, bringing more stability. With more stability, comes more security. With more security, comes more confidence. With more confidence comes more boldness of speech and action. In this manner, faithfulness creates a ripple effect. We are being built up so that our branches can grow out, and the fruit we bear can bring nourishment to hungry hearts. We are being built up so that our fruit can bear more fruit.

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