The fruit of the Spirit includes faithfulness in its list of qualities. Likewise, we need faith to believe in a God we cannot see. In addition, God is always faithful to us. Therefore, let’s examine how we can cultivate faithfulness.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. Little Pot is a fruit-bearing vessel created by the potter. It is given the privilege of growing fruit. You can find the full story here. The allegory mirrors the relationship that we have with our creator. We are also vessels created to bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is the substance God grows through us when we allow Him to work in our lives. The verses in Galatians describe this fruit with nine words. Therefore, each week we look at a word from the list and what Paul meant when he explained this fruit to the church.
We studied love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness in the previous weeks. This week, we will look at Hebrews 11 and consider what Paul meant by labeling the fruit with faithfulness.
Faithfulness in the Bible.
Our world defines faithfulness as the quality of being loyal and steadfast. It is to remain loyal to someone or something throughout tough seasons. This definition is in line with what the Bible says about faithfulness. However, as we saw with the other traits of the Holy Spirit, His faithfulness is even broader. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance beyond what we can see. The chapter then lists examples of people who lived a life full of faith. The list takes us through the Bible’s people and events. As I have studied the list, I identified six ways we can be faithful.
- Seek to understand
- Sacrifice and give offerings that please God
- Take action without answers
- Trust God with our children
- Give up comfort and pleasures
- Obey the crazy
By faith (Hebrews 11)
Seek to understand.
The list begins at the very beginning, at creation (verse 3). We must seek to understand God spoke the universe into existence. The story of creation has been under attack for centuries. Scientists have tried to discredit the biblical account and get us to doubt Genesis’ version. If you struggle with believing that God created the universe, as scripture explains, I invite you to study what creation scientists have discovered and published in Answers in Genesis. If you are a parent or teacher, I highly recommend their curriculum.
Sacrifice and give offerings that please God.
The next item on the list involves what we are willing to sacrifice and offer to God. Do we want to please Him (verse 4)? Abel, a herdsman, gives God an offering that shows faith. He offered the best parts of the firstborn animals from his flock. His brother, Cain, a farmer, made an offering with some of the fruit he grew. God was pleased with Abel’s offering and not Cain’s. Cain’s offering did not require sacrifice. Do we offer God the first portions of our day, time, and money? Do our offerings require sacrifices from us? Giving Him what is easy and convenient does not require faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Enoch lived to please God (verses 5-6).
Take action without answers.
Likewise, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah are listed as faithful because they were willing to take action without answers (verses 7-16). Noah built the ark before seeing the flood. Abraham was ready to go to an unknown place. Sarah believed she wasn’t too old to fulfill God’s promise. In each of these scenarios, we see examples of faithfulness. I ask God many questions. Noah, Abraham, and Sarah may have too. However, they took action without knowing the result. In addition, the text points out that they still lived by faith when they died. Even if we do not receive what God promises us on earth, we are to look toward heaven.
Trust God with our children.
The fourth item on the list hits home with me. The following examples are all about parenting (verses 17-23). The text lists Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau regarding their future. Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons and spoke of the exodus to come. Then, Moses’s parents hid him from Pharoah for three months. Faith plays a big part in raising children. We want to shelter our kids from everything that might hurt them. Yet, trusting God will care for them requires faith.
Give up comfort and pleasures.
Giving up worldly pleasures also demonstrates faithfulness (verses 24-28). The list includes Moses, not because his parents had faith but because he refused to be known as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He gave us the life of a king, left Egypt, and then returned to save God’s people. In contrast, we are sometimes unwilling to give up our life’s comforts to live faithfully.
Obey the crazy.
Finally, the last few people on the list are obedient (verses 29-31). And, when I say obedient, I mean they obeyed some crazy ideas. The list includes when the Israelites walked through the red sea and marched around Jericho for seven days. In addition, Rahab broke the law and welcomed spies into her home. We all want to obey God. Yet, our faith is tested when we must do something we cannot understand. Likewise, our obedience makes us faithful. The author of Hebrews then mentions that the list could continue with more biblical examples (verses 32-40).
Where does faith come from?
As we describe the events and people in Hebrews 11, it is easy to conclude that faith is acquired through our actions alone. However, we must remember that faithfulness is a part of the fruit the Holy Spirit grows through us. He is the giver of faith. In Romans 12:3, Paul reminds us that God has given each of us a “measure of faith.”
Faithfulness and the fruit of the Spirit
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness can grow if we are faithful to God and His word.
While God’s Spirit is what will produce this fruit, it requires our surrender and participation. Our lives can cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Consequently, understanding how to become fruit-bearing vessels is a God-sized calling and one of the most important things we do as followers of Christ. Likewise, I’ve seen how God produces the fruit Spirit, and I’ve explained the process in seven steps. I have used these steps with children, teachers, and parents. It includes the three areas of spiritual, social, and academic growth. In these areas, you’ll become a fruit-bearing vessel.
If you join me on this fruit-bearing journey, I promise we will see how God works in our lives and with others around us. In addition, you’ll receive a short, fruitful Friday email each week. Just type in your email address and name below.
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