The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Galatia and said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." The message of Galatians 5:22-23 still resounds today. If we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Romans 8) it is natural for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. What does that mean? In this space today, I would like for us to consider "FAITHFULNESS" as a fruit of the Spirit.
How many times have you heard preachers speak of “The Steps to Salvation?” We usually expect to hear this phrase right at the end of the message. Traditionally we call this “The Invitation” or the “Lord’s Invitation.” It goes something like this… “If you want to be saved there are five steps you must take: Step #1 you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), Step #2 you must believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), Step #3 you must repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), Step #4 you must confess your faith in Jesus (Matthew 10:32), Step #5 you must be baptized (Mark 16:16). Sound familiar? These five familiar steps are essential to become a Christian, but do we assume that once these steps have been taken nothing else remains? If we continue to read our Bible we will see that there is much to do after we become a Christian! We cannot assume that there is nothing more to Christianity than “5 Steps to Salvation.”
The Lord spoke of discipleship not as a “piece of cake” but as a daily choice. In Matthew 6:33 He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” In Matthew 16:24 He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Luke actually adds the word “daily” in this message (Luke 9:23). In Matthew 19:29 He said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” It’s a lifetime worth of steps down a difficult road (Matthew 7:13-14). You and I must choose... every single day... to be FAITHFUL to the Lord if we want to receive eternal life.
We are reminded throughout the Bible that FAITHFULNESS is one of the things that the Lord requires of His church. Romans 6:22 says, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Revelation 2:10 says, “Be FAITHFUL until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Who could forget the story found in Matthew 13 and the growth of the kingdom? We need to make sure that our seed grows and is not cut down when it begins to grow. This requires FAITHFULNESS.
In a way, our choice to follow Christ “daily” is a death sentence. We must remember that the devil will be working against us. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” When we face our enemy we need to remember that God loves us and will deliver us if we are steadfast. I Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” This is required if we are to be found FAITHFUL to God. Not an easy choice but a rewarding one.
Our Lord is FAITHFUL. He expects His children to do their best to practice FAITHFULNESS.
May God bless you and keep you! Choose FAITHFULNESS.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds