Saturday, June 30, 2012

fruit of the spirit: faithfulness.

..courtesy of my New Orleans friend, Nathan. super grateful for this guy because he not only teaches us about God centered relationships and being a great parent, but also because he lets me hang out with his amazing wife. a lot. they are a big part of the church we've been attending and Emily has been such a blessing to get to know during this big move in an unfamiliar city. & I needed a little help on turning faithfulness into words this week, so here he is to talk about it.

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? – Proverbs 20:6

So what is faithfulness? It’s simply a person who is loyal, dependable, trustworthy, and honest. And sadly, I think this is one of most absent fruit in the life of most Christians in my generation. Time and time again, I see my friends commit to doing something and never act upon that commitment or see them find themselves so afraid of commitment that they run away as quickly as possible. When I became a Christian, it was one of the things that probably changed the quickest. Prior to being a Christ follower, I wasn’t a person of my word and could care less about faithfulness. Now, as a Christian, I want to be a person of my word. I desire for my yes to be yes and my no to be no. 

At the end of the day, a person either chooses to live a life of selfishness or a life of faithfulness. You can choose to be faithful to your marriage or you can choose to be selfish in your marriage. We can choose to be faithful in our job or we can choose to be selfish in our job. We can choose to be faithful in our relationships or we can choose to be selfish in our relationships. Your love of self will quickly harm anything of value in your life. Love is meant to be shared, not squandered. 

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned on my journey with faithfulness: 

1) Remember Christ’s faithfulness to me. 

I think it’s helpful when talking about faithfulness to begin with discussing the faithfulness of God. We are ultimately dependent on His faithfulness for our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:8-9), for Him to forgive us of our sinfulness (1 John 1:9), and for eternal life (Hebrews 10:23). We are dependent on Him to deliver us from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are dependent on Him to deliver us through the difficult times of suffering (1 Peter 4:19). Luckily, God isn’t like us in that he doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He’s ever constant. We can trust in His faithfulness because He is faithful in all of his promises (Psalm 145:13)! 

When I’m reminded of the faithfulness of Christ to me, I am able to remember my faithfulness to others. 

2) Remember the why of my commitment. 

When we commit to a person or project, we always remember the what – I’m doing x to accomplish y. But my one time choice of commitment is not enough. I have to renew that commitment. I have to find myself continually coming back to the why rather than the what of that commitment. I have to come back and remember why I’m faithful to my spouse. I have to come back and remember why I’m faithful to my church. In the difficult times, if I don’t have a why, I’ll find myself abandoning the commitment altogether. 

3) Remember that a no is better than an abandoned yes. 

There is a fine balance between committing to everything that comes your way and committing to nothing. If you commit to everything, you will quickly burnout and the important things that you committed to will all suffer in quality. If you commit to nothing, you will find yourself years later filled with regret after an unaccomplished and uncommitted life. 

In the process, remember the importance of saying say no to the unimportant, but do not negate the necessary. While in the process, also remember to keep an ear tuned to God to direct your steps. 

4) Remember to commit to things that add value to your life. 

It’s okay to be a little selfish and some commitments are rewarding. A 25th wedding anniversary is a rewarding time. Celebrate! You enjoy spending time with underprivileged children and giving them hope of a better future. Engage! You enjoy playing weekend basketball with friends - suit up and enjoy your friendships and the friendly competition. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy your commitments. 

5) Remember to commit to the things that matter. 

God, Marriage, Family, Church – these are things that have everlasting significance. These things matter. The birthday party for your cousin’s bratty children – not so much. If you are going to commit, make sure the things that you commit to are quality commitments.

'Your love of self will quickly harm anything of value in your life.' wise words. & really glad he mentioned psalm 145:13. such a great reminder to be faithful to God..

'..the Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.'

so what does faithfulness mean to you? feel free to chime in.

also, read from others in the fruit of the spirit series:

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