The Fruit of the Spirit Series-Faith(Faithfulness)
As I mentioned in the first message of this series: to develop the Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5 verse 22, 23) is to develop the character of Jesus. In Romans 8 verse 19 the word says “for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” The whole world is waiting for people to develop the character of Jesus. The Greek word for “sons” in the above verse is “huios” which means “the expression of the character of the parent.” It means that the offspring is starting to act like the parent. To have the same character as Jesus one has to develop the same fruit that was easily recognizable in Jesus. Our number one prayer should be that the Father would conform us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8 verse 29). God’s fruit must be cultivated while His gifts are bestowed by His grace. In Mark 4 verse 28, the word says the fruit grows; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Fruit is cultivated over a period of time. As a matter of fact, the purpose of His gifts is to produce fruit in us, as the power of His gifts should humble us. Also, the ones who develop all the fruit will be the ones that most manifest His power. The gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit go together.
Only God can develop the fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 verse 5, 6). One way to cultivate His fruit is to read the epistles (Romans to Revelation) and speak the scriptures into our lives, as God directs, that help us spiritually.
The next fruit of the Spirit that I want to talk about is the fruit of faith or faithfulness. Daniel stood out because of his faithfulness: In Daniel 6 verse 1-4 the word says that Daniel was one of the presidents and was preferred over all the other princes and presidents because he had an excellent spirit. His enemies could not find any fault in him because of his faithfulness (verse 4). In Proverb 20 verse 6 the word says that “most men will proclaim his own goodness but a faithful man who can find?”
Functions of faithfulness:
1.) to equip believers to exercise stewardship over God’s goods- Adam was set up by God to care for the garden (Gen. 2 verse 8, 15) but because of unfaithfulness God had to drive him out (Gen. 3 verse 23, 24). Only those who are faithful can be entrusted with God’s blessings. In the parable of the talents, one talent was taken from the servant who was unfaithful and given to a faithful servant who had ten (Mt. 25 verse 14-30). In the area of God’s gifts, if one is not faithful in the gifts of the Spirit and does not appreciate them, God will give them to someone else.
2.) to enable believers to experience fellowship with the Father. In Numbers 12 verse 1, 2, 5-8 God stood up for Moses when his authority was attacked and said that He speaks to Moses “mouth to mouth” or clearly, easy to understand, not through dreams or visions. Because of Moses’ faithfulness he could hear the voice of the LORD clearly. Jesus had such an intimate relationship with the Father that He discerned what to do at all times (John 5 verse 30, Chap. 8 verse 3-11, 26, and 29).
3.) enable believers to experience the joy of pleasing the Father. In Mt. 25 verse 21 the word says that the faithful can enter into the joy of the LORD. God is not interested in how much His children do for Him but whether they do what He says. Prov. 25 verse 13 says that faithfulness refreshes God. Our faithfulness ministers to Him. Heb. 11 verse 6 says that without faithfulness we can’t please God and Rom. 1 verse 17 says that the just live by faithfulness. In Hebrews chapter 11 we read about the heroes of faith (faithfulness). Wherever you read about someone moving by faith in this chapter the word should be translated “faithful.” Some examples are: verse 8 - by the faithfulness of Abraham he went to a place where God sent him, by faithfulness Noah prepared an ark. In James Chap. 1 verse 2, 3 the word says that faithfulness produces patience. In going through a trial don’t just have faith that you will be blessed after the trial but have faithfulness to please Him going through a trial.
Ways to develop faithfulness:
1.) to be faithful in the least (Luke 16 verse 10), being faithful in what one has in their possession. Areas where believers can be faithful in the least is: a.) fulfillment of past vows to God – (Ecc. 5 verse 4-6). b.) faithful in their family life - in Gen 18 verse 16-19 God said that Abraham will command his children to keep the way of the LORD. c.) faithful in their work - in Luke 16 verse 12 the word says that “if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own.”
2.) with your money- trying to keep making money and accumulating it can separate one’s affections from God, especially if God is asking for more than tithes (Luke 16 verse 11). God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9 verse 7). The “love” of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6 verse 10).
3.) be aware of His indwelling presence- Jesus knew that He was never alone (Jn. 8 verse 29). He had a conscious awareness of the Father’s presence. We are the temple of God (2 Cor. 6 verse 16). We didn’t become the members of a church per se; we are the church, the temple of God. In all Paul’s attacks (2 Cor. Chapter 4 and chapter 6) he endured because he had Christ in Him the hope of glory (Col. 1 verse 27).
Again, the fruit of faithfulness needs to be cultivated and the evidence of this and all the fruit is truly worth the effort.