“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions; wait for hope to appear.” Lamentations 3:28-30 .
There are nine fruits of a Christian’s character that asks us to learn, nurture and apply them to our own individual lives. Jesus Christ has clearly expressed a Christian’s responsibility in two commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, body and, love your neighbor as yourself. The Apostle Paul wrote us a guide to the Christian personality in nine traits; The Fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Galatians 5:22
The “fruit” of the Spirit is a synthesis of what the Christian personality should look like. The Spirit is an unbroken whole and when we as believers put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The nine fruits are attributes of Him and will work in our lives as we strive to live in the image of Jesus. And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.” Deuteronomy 28:1
Each of these qualities lived out as a whole are essential to live a life that resembles Jesus. In God’s two greatest commands love is the greatest of all! The seventh fruit is faithfulness. If you love someone, faithfulness is the word for loyal, devoted, constant, unwavering, trustworthy. It may even be referred to as fidelity. Faithful is a verb. It is a word of action. God is the source and standard for faithfulness and He walked with us on this Earth to model faithfulness in relationships with his followers. Being faithful as a Christian also requires us to endure, especially when living is tough. The Holy Spirit is ready to be relied on, prayed to, counted on, so that we can be faithful in all circumstances and with all our relationships. When we have faith in God we can act in ways that demonstrate our true faith and control our behaviors.
This is where this gets personal. My husband of 30 years and father to my four amazing sons, has introduced a third party into our marriage. I will spare my readers the details of the circumstances of my 8 months of suspicions and lies and how they became real just less than a week ago. My husband is being unfaithful. My husband also is not a Christian. So although he cannot understand his actions in a Godly way, I can and my heart is breaking. With his lack of faith and faithfulness, disaster has been created. I have had to create some distance between us and seek comfort in prayer. God is always faithful. He has no broken promises and is the foundation upon which I will lean on as we navigate through this storm. With Him I know I am never alone. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God WILL BE with you (ME) wherever you (I) go.” Joshua 1:9 Wow!! The power and the faithfulness in those words! He never changes. People do. People will leave, discourage and be unfaithful. I am praying for my husband and asking God to show him the importance of being faithful in all areas of life. And I am praying for strength to forgive him.
Truth is I am afraid and I am discouraged. I want to run away. I wish, want, desire, deserve to find peace in my life again. To be the patient mother, the painter, the writer, the reader, the sewer. The learner, the do-er, the giver, the volunteer. The girl who grows wildflowers and savors the beauty and the scents. The one who wants to lie down in fields of them spending time just talking to God thanking him for their magical beauty, The dancer, the singer, the friend, the sister, the lover of life, of dreams and laughter and the waves of the ocean, The smell of salt air, the sweet pull of taffy from the boardwalk, and the sand beneath my toes. The warmth and the scent of summer air. Family and traditions. “The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will always answer.” Psalm 91:14-15 My God is FAITHFUL to me!
In return, God asks us to use our talents in faithful ways to be blessings to others. If a gift or talent (or marriage bond) are used faithfully, God increases His blessing! Faithfulness, as nurtured by the Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity for Christian living. Of course all the Fruit of the Spirit is essential but there is something about faithfulness that is all encompassing. Faithfulness in our marriages produces, love, joy, peace, increases patience and kindness, goodness, gentleness and of course self control! “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart,” Proverbs 3:3
“I will sing of the lord’s great love forever: with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”