“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The substance of creation provides evidence of an unseen God and a basis for our faith!
Today we look at the seventh fruit of the spirit, faithfulness. Faith is simply a complete trust and confidence in God. I think one of the best definitions of faith in the Bible is Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Substance implies an actual thing, something physical, touchable. For me the most compelling evidence for faith is the “substance” of the God-created natural world we live in. The diversity, the beauty, the detail, the abundance, the awesomeness of it all.
The first step in the path to faith is belief. Here is a simplistic illustration of faith (I’m sure you’ve probably heard it before); I believe that a chair is for sitting and that it will hold me when I sit on it, I trust the chair and actually sit down in it, I have faith that the chair behind me (without turning around and studying it) will hold me as I sit down.
If we apply this very simple example to our faith in God, it might look something like this. I believe that God exists, that He created the entire world and I believe that Jesus is His Son and died and arose for me. I trust that when I confess my belief and ask for forgiveness of my sins and for salvation that I am saved, and become a child of God. Now comes the faith, I know, without having ever seen God or Jesus, that the Holy Spirit will be with me to protect and guide and comfort me. We can have faith in the promises of God. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (My favorite promise!)
Now, that is not to say that faith is that instantaneously acquired! Our faith grows over time as we trust, and as we see God deliver on His promises. And many, many times I fall very short! I tend to be a worrier and a planner. I mull over things that I have to do in order to decide the best plan of action. I rehearse what to say to someone. I try to anticipate every small detail of a situation. And I hear Jesus saying these words to me, “O, you of little faith!”
If I had the perfect faith of Jesus, I could calm the sea, move a mountain, heal the sick. But my faith falls exceedingly short of “perfect”. I am always praying for more faith just like the disciples. “And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”” Luke 17:5 And over time, and with lots of prayer and study in God’s word, and with God’s faithfulness shown to me, my faith has increased. I am blessed by all God has done for me and my family and friends. My thankfulness of God’s promises, realized in my life, adds to my faith.
This week try to choose just one small area where you need to stretch your faith. Worrying about your children? (One of my biggies!) Complaining about something or someone? Being impatient when waiting for an answer to a prayer? Struggling with an illness? Family relationships? Then pray, with thanksgiving for all God has already done for you, and ask Him to increase your faith.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we begin to wind down our series on the fruits of the spirit – faithfulness. May God increase our faith and our peace!