Sandwiched in the middle of the fruit of the Spirit is the word “faithfulness.” It’s not the most well-known fruit in the group. Love, joy, and peace tend to steal most of the attention. It’s not the flashiest fruit of the group either. If faithfulness were an actual fruit, I imagine it tasting more like kale than strawberries or watermelon. And . . . yes, I know kale is a vegetable. That’s the point. Faithfulness just seems kind of bland and forgettable.
But the reality is that faithfulness is an incredibly important quality in the life of a disciple. In fact, it’s one of the best ways we can reflect our Lord to our families and the world. You see, faithfulness speaks to the amount of faith that others can place in us. When we are faithful there is no gap between what we promise and what we perform. It’s in this “bland” consistency that we not only build trust with others, but we also point them toward the one who is faithful and true.
So, how well is faithfulness growing in you? Here are a few questions to help you:
- Does your family trust you to follow through with your commitments?
- Can your fellow employees depend on you to finish your tasks with excellence?
- Do your friends expect you to show up on time?
- Do you keep your word even when it costs you?
If you have some room to improve in the area of faithfulness, there’s good news. Like all of the fruit of the Spirit, you can grow in faithfulness. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Count the cost
Do you ever overcommit yourself? It’s so easy to do. You commit to help with a project or task only to realize later that you do not have the time to complete it. Once this realization occurs, your only options seem to be burning yourself out and finishing the work or going back on your commitment (also known as unfaithfulness). But, there is a way that you can proactively prevent overcommitment. It’s called counting the cost. Counting the cost means that you take time to evaluate whether you have the time, energy, or resources necessary to complete a task. So, the next time you’re asked to help a friend move on the weekend, take a moment to count the cost before overcommitting. You’ll avoid being unfaithful to your promise and you’ll keep your friend.
Start where you are
The difficulty with faithfulness is that it can often live in the land of somewhere else. When you get somewhere bigger in life. . . somewhere more important. . . then you can be more faithful, right? But that’s not how faithfulness works. It’s not a switch that you can turn on one day when you need it. Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “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.”
Faithfulness isn’t built in the amazing land of somewhere else. Instead, it’s built in the boring moments of today. Every promise you uphold to your kids. Every deadline you meet. Every appointment you keep. These are the building blocks of a life of faithfulness.
Spend time with faithful people
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” One of the best ways I’ve found to grow in any quality is to spend time with people who exhibit it. And it’s no different with faithfulness. Think of the people in your life who are faithful. They are the ones who always call you when they promise to. They probably serve on a consistent basis at church. They keep their word even when it’s inconvenient. If you want to grow in faithfulness, spend time with these people. Their example will inspire you. You’ll learn from their habits. And chances are, they’ll hold you accountable. Because if there’s one thing that annoys faithful people, it’s unfaithfulness.
Focus on the faithfulness of God
If we want to see a true picture of faithfulness, we can find it in our heavenly Father. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 describes this idea beautifully. It says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” Isn’t that one of our favorite attributes of God? The fact that we can always count on Him to keep his promises. How many testimonies start with “God has been faithful?” How many songs declare his faithfulness?
Why is it that faithfulness can be bland and forgettable in one sense and yet incredibly valuable when we speak about God? It’s because we value the benefits that the faithfulness of God brings to our lives. Benefits like peace, answered prayers, salvation, sanctification, and comfort in difficult seasons.
Here’s the reality; God not only wants us to benefit from His faithfulness, but he wants us to bless others through our faithfulness. He wants to produce in us the bland, forgettable, and yet incredibly valuable fruit of faithfulness.
This post originally appeared at: How to Grow in Faithfulness — The Bonhoeffer Project