Faithfulness is one of those words we have to be careful with. As Christians, we have a tendency to cut things out of Scripture and then assign our own meanings to them. Oftentimes, when we discuss faithfulness, we jump right into our own responsibilities and duties toward God. We figure out when, how, and in what way we must obey. And this is all good, we should be faithful. But what we often forget is why…
The ‘why’ is just as and probably more important than anything else. It’s the reason and the foundation for our faithfulness. Without the why our faithfulness is futile and our efforts will only lead to exhaustion and frustration.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Faithfulness is a fruit of our relationship with God. This list in Galatians was not meant for Christians to parse out all the words and figure out ways in which they can make themselves more faithful, gentle, or loving. Paul was telling the Galatians that these things come from a relationship with God.
Our Christian lives begin at the cross with the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We worship Him for His sacrifice, His love, and His mercy. But then we tend to drift. We move away from the power of Christ and the love of God into a me-centered religion of “I’ve got to do this for God. I’ve got to be faithful.”
God certainly wants our obedience. He loves faithfulness, but we must not ever rely on our own efforts to make ourselves good. When Peter walked on water, he was focused on Christ. It was when he turned and focused on the wind and waves that he fell. I can almost hear him thinking, “Jesus called me out here, but it’s windy and stormy. I’m scared, but I’ll try really hard. Maybe I can make myself buoyant.” Of course, that didn’t work. He sank. Focusing on Christ allowed him to be faithful as he walked across the water.
As we seek to love others, remember to cling to the one who sacrificed his life for you. Remember, it is He who gives you the strength, perseverance, and passion to be faithful. We should be like the psalmist who shouts:
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8