at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Our bible study group has decided to take some time to look at the so-called “fruit of the spirit” as listed in the book of Galatians – and to study each one of these fruits, evaluating the prevalence of each in our own lives.  I hope to be able to share parts of my study and reflections here, as we go through each of the topics.

Next up in my Fruit of the Spirit study is faithfulness.  The word “faithfulness” that is used here is translated from the Greek word, pistis, which means “trust-worthiness” according to Vine’s Dictionary.  In Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, he defines faith[fulness] here as “fidelity, justice, and honesty, in what we profess and promise to others.”  We must remain true to the faith if we are to live a Spirit-filled life.  I believe that means practicing what you preach and living a life that is generally consistent with the way of life Jesus teaches.  We must keep our hope and trust in Jesus consistently. In personal interactions it means being true to others, following through with our word and acting with integrity.  God has entrusted us with the great responsibility of acting as his ambassadors to the rest of the world by glorifying him with the way we live our lives.  We are faithful if we carry out the responsibilities entrusted to us by God.

When thinking about what it meant to be faithful, I was reminded of the Parable of the Talents that Jesus told to his disciples.  Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven in this way:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received the one talent came.  ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“’Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”  -- Matthew 25:14-29

This parable depicts the gifts or “talents” that God gives to us and the choices we have in what to do with those gifts.  If we are faithful in using them for God’s purposes, he will entrust us with even more.  If we bury our gifts and don’t use what God has given us for his glory, we are being unfaithful servants of our God.  The life filled by the Spirit should show the fruits of faithfulness portrayed by using our time, money and talents wisely and in ways that are pleasing to God. 

As relates to other people, I think the fruit of faithfulness can be seen in several ways.  Firstly, part of being faithful to God means loving other people and being true to the way of life he has called us to live: to honor others above ourselves (Romans 12:10) and to treat others the way we wanted to be treated (Matthew 7:12)—remember the “Golden Rule”?  According to Jesus, this “sums up the Law and the Prophets”--or what we know as the Old Testament of the Bible. 

I think being faithful to others also means living up to your word and following through on commitments.  It shows integrity and character when we are honest and true with others and it demonstrates our faithfulness.  Remember the old adage: actions speak louder than words?  Well, it’s true.  And when we show others our faith and faithfulness by what we do, it is a much stronger testimony to the Truth than simply our words.  As the book of Proverbs puts it:

“Many a man claims to have unfailing love, 
   but a faithful man who can find?” – Proverbs 20:6

Matthew Henry notes the following in his commentary on this proverb:

1. It is easy to find those that will pretend to be kind and liberal. Many a man will call himself a man of mercy, will boast what good he has done and what good he designs to do, or, at least, what an affection he has to well-doing. Most men will talk a great deal of their charity, generosity, hospitality, and piety, will sound a trumpet to themselves, as the Pharisees, and what little goodness they have will proclaim it and make a mighty matter of it.

2. But it is hard to find those that really are kind and liberal, that have done and will do more than either they speak of or care to hear spoken of, that will be true friends in a strait; such a one as one may trust to is like a black swan.

Many will claim to have faith, but faithfulness is proved by actions, as life in the Spirit is known by its fruit.  My challenge this week is to really think about the choices I make moment to moment and to try to choose the things that align with God’s way of life, that others may see something different in me and know that I am faithful to what I profess.  Though we will fail, because we are not perfect, we must continue to get back up and endeavor to be a true friend to others and a true servant to Christ in what we do, as the Spirit enables us, that one day we may hear the words spoken to us: “well done, good and faithful servant!"

**note: I found my sources for information on the Greek text from The Blue Letter Bible - there are some great resources on that website! Check it out!  You can also read Matthew Henry's entire bible commentary here.

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!