The Fruit of Faithfulness

At the risk of sounding like a creeper, I adore watching older couples in love. Their passion is far removed from teenage puppy love or a flirtation at the bar between twenty-somethings. There’s a quality of richness and depth about it—endurance. Perseverance. Faithfulness. This hard-won romance is the stuff Hollywood movies should really be made of. Don’t we all wonder what happily ever after looks like? While there are many expressions of faithfulness, we find it nestled snugly among the outworking of God in our lives.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds.

(Psalm 36:5)

Faithfulness is first and foremost a characteristic of the Lord. Revelation 19:11 even names Jesus “Faithful and True.” We can rest on the rock-solid assurance that our King is dependable. If He makes a promise, He keeps it. If He sets a course, it will come to pass. The heart with the deepest trust issues finds peace in this kind of faithfulness; it’s deep, lasting, pervasive, and personal. God’s faithfulness to us can’t and won’t be shaken.

I have not hidden Your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness from the great congregation.

(Psalm 40:10)

Faithfulness is meant to be trumpeted. When is the last time you got together with a group of believers for the sole purpose of sharing stories of how God has come through for you? We all need reminders of the long record of the Lord’s faithfulness so that in dark or dry times, there’s a well from which to draw strength. The body of Christ has the immense privilege of being a family of storytellers, gospel singers of the faithfulness of God. It’s just as much for our own hearts as for the hearts of others.

Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!

(Psalm 89:5)

Faithfulness is celebrated in heaven. As much as I love the idea of a story feast here on earth, the reality of the worship service focusing on God’s faithfulness happening among the saints and angels around the throne right now is even more overwhelming to my heart. Let’s join in with the heavenly chorus, reverberating its echoes of glory, a beautiful harmony below mingling with the divine melody above.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

(Proverbs 27:6)

Faithfulness impacts our relationships. We’ve talked about the ethereal aspects of this fruit—now let’s put some skin on it. Faithfulness promotes honesty that cares more about the health of a friend than about being liked by that friend. Because this is the case, it’s more loving to address a deep issue than to skirt around it and neglect the other person’s development. Friendly wounds (such as, “Would you allow me to speak into this attitude I’m noticing toward your coworker?”) are marks of faithfulness.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Faithfulness is served fresh daily. New mercies with each sunrise. Unceasing love. Faithfulness that depends not on our fluctuating behavior but on God’s unchanging character. No wonder life insurance agent Thomas Chisholm was compelled to pen a hymn about the Lord’s great faithfulness. It invades the brightest and darkest moments of our lives, and all of the mundane bits in between. Oh, friends, if this is how we’ve been treated, what might this mean for how we treat those in our homes and jobs and churches and social media circles?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

(Matthew 23:23)

Faithfulness is considered a big deal in the kingdom. Jesus terms it a “weighty matter of the law.” This fruit has two meanings: being deeply trustworthy/dependable (faithful) and truly resting in God’s ability to follow through on His promises (faith-full). Without faith, it’s impossible to please the Lord. So we work out the weighty matters of the law in justice and mercy and faithfulness from a place brimming with confidence that God will come through.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”

(Matthew 25:21)

Faithfulness is our calling. Since the very first time I heard this story as a kid in the Bible belt, I’ve craved being greeted by that message when I step into eternity. Interestingly, I had a motivation shift somewhere along the way. I used to want God to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” because I needed to know I had His acceptance. (I’ve been quite the approval junkie in my life.) As I grow, though, my heart turns more toward kingdom effectiveness. I already have His approval; the cross spoke loud enough once and for all on that front. He sees me (wonder!) exactly as He sees His Son. Now I just want to be a blessing to my Daddy because of how undeservedly loved I am.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

(Luke 16:10)

Faithfulness reveals the state of your heart. A popular women’s conference I attended recently included an odd 10-minute exercise. For real—exercise. The trainer on the stage pushed us to do all kinds of awkward moves in an arena full of high heels and poofy hair. The sweat and makeup and trying to not squish someone’s purse while attempting jumping jacks in stadium chairs made for a bizarre experience. But somewhere in the middle of the high-energy music and flashing lights, she said something that’s stuck with me ever since: How you do one thing is how you do all things. If I’m not willing to put my best effort into something silly, I might not be exhibiting true faithfulness in many other places in my life.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

(2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Faithfulness=protection. We are safe against Satan’s schemes not because we’re amazingly pure superChristians with no chance of falling but because guarding our hearts is not our work—it’s God’s work. (Admittedly, we’re invited into that work, but at the end of the day, this passage seems to put the responsibility squarely on the Lord’s more-than-capable shoulders.) We place our faith in Him who is faithful and sit secure, wrapped in the everlasting arms.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

(1 Peter 4:19)

Faithfulness affects our perspective on pain. Listen, we don’t have to understand suffering—the reasons, the extent. Those belong to the Lord. But if we can push past our resistance and run to the One in control, staying soft and hopeful and obedient, we’ll eventually see an abundant outcome of fruit. We all suffer. The question is, will we choose to be faithful in that season, or will we waste the opportunity for God to expand us for His glory and our good? The longstanding history of divine faithfulness is worth leaning into. He’s never failed, and He won’t start now.

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