Part 3 of The Fruit of the Spirit Series
What does God think about faith? More importantly, how does God see your faithfulness?
These question are the focus of this third video in the Fruit of The Spirit, Bible Speed Art video series by Perhaps Today. If you have not yet seen the Bible Speed Art videos for Self-Control or Gentleness, please make sure to watch those as well. Our personal recommendation is to watch them in the order we released them, as the concepts of each one build upon the others. And as always, if you have any questions about the videos – or if you need prayer – please do not hesitate to contact Perhaps Today anytime.
What is Faithfulness?
The first thing that is important to know about faith, is what it is. We know that the Bible gives a very clear-cut definition to faith. In the book of Hebrews, the Bible has this to say about faith:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.
– Hebrews 1:1
To give a brief moment of context, the end of chapter 10 in the book of Hebrews is talking about standing in confidence and persevering. Lets take a quick glimpse at one of the verses there:
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
– Hebrews 10:36-39
If you notice that the highlight of the verses above is about the will of God. It doesn’t say “if you do the will of God”. Instead, God has written it in a way where we are to emphatically know that we are to do the will of God. The expectation of a true follower and overcomer of Jesus Christ is that the will of God will be done. It doesn’t mean it will be easy. The Bible does not promise that it will be a walk in the park. In fact, it tells the opposite, which is why it says “you need to persevere”! If we truly love the Lord and seek to please him – and him alone – then why do we tend to shrink away when things get difficult? Why do we blame God for times of trouble when, in fact, it is the opportunity of those moments to step out in faith and allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be evident in our life? How else are the people in your life going to see the reality of the love of Jesus? By what you say? Because you go to church? Whenever you have a tithe envelope in your hand? Or maybe its because you volunteer to serve the church in some way? Is that the evidence of your faith? Is that the extent of the will of God in our lives? And what perseverance is there in that? Let’s take a look at the example of someone like the apostle Paul from the Bible. Was the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus made real because he led the worship band in Corinth? Was his faithfulness made evident to all because he led a Wednesday night prayer service? Or was he a man of faithfulness because he knew his purpose for Christ and lived in it regardless of the cost?
Do we see the difference yet?
And it’s not that we are to compare ourselves to anyone else. However, the Bible is stocked with incredible examples of faith for us to learn from. As a matter of fact, if you finish reading the rest of the 11th chapter of Hebrews, after the one verse that I mentioned above, you will see God list a whole grouping of people that were commended for their faith. With that being said, that brings up my next point about faithfulness: Perspective!
Are You a Person of Faith, or a Faithful Person
When we look a little deeper at the word “faithfulness” that is used in the reading of the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians, we can learn a very awesome fact. In the original text, the word itself is a noun, meaning faith, faithfulness, or belief. This would normally be the case when we talk about our own faith. “I’m a person of faith,” we hear so many people say. “I have faith in God,” is another common thing you might have heard said. If we remember back to our days of Elementary school, we know that a noun is a person, place, or thing. So to say, “I have faith” is to say that I possess – or have ownership of something. It’s a noun. However, the root of the word is actually an adjective, which we know is a descriptive word. This word means “faithful, trustworthy, or reliable”. It is not something that you have, it is a description of how you are seen.
Seen by whom?
The importance to the noun and adjective is to understand the difference of perspective in your purpose of faith. Your perspective looking up to God is that you have faith in God. That’s nice. However, what is God’s perspective when he looks from the throne of heaven, down upon you? Does God see you as someone who is faithful? Are you trustworthy to carry the message of his Son Jesus Christ? Is your example reliable to bear evidence to the truth of Christ?
That is a perspective that matters!
The church world is full of people claiming to have faith in God. But what is God’s perspective. We know from the book of Matthew, as Jesus is talking about a tree and its fruit (ironic this is the part about fruit as we are studying the fruit of the Spirit), he says:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from, you evildoers!'”
– Matthew 7:21-23
So is our perspective of being people of faith more important than God’s perspective of him seeing us as faithful servants? And did you happen to catch Jesus’ words there about the only people to enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do the will of the heavenly Father? Does that not sound familiar with the verses from Hebrews 10, where it talked about how we are expected to do his will? The Bible was perfectly written, yet so often we fall to seeing things through our perspective and not God’s. For a second example, let’s look at the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The servants who are considered faithful and trustworthy are those who don’t just have faith in the master and yet produce nothing with what they’ve been entrusted with. They are the servants who bring a “return on the master’s investment” so-to-speak. The master gives them a certain number of talents and they return back to him with more than what they have been given. The one who returns only with what he was given, showing no evidence of being productive and effective with his talent, has his talent removed and is cast out. The master calls that person a worthless servant.
Again, what is God’s perspective of you today? Where do I fall in the realm of faithfulness?
Faith Without Works Is Dead!
If we are still thinking about the faithfulness taught in the parable of the talents, then I believe we are at a good place to understand what the book of James is talking about. In the Bible, it is written:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.”
– James 2:14-19
How much needs to be said about this? If we’ve been following the train of thought about faithfulness, then James’ words become very clear. Faithfulness is not just something we have, it’s who we are. Therefore, the nature of who we are is going to be evident on the outside because it is the life we will live. These are the deeds that James is describing. It’s not that we have salvation because of our deeds, but rather we have salvation and therefore can’t help having deeds because we have been made new in Christ. We have a hope so much greater than anything this world has to offer, whether the good or the bad. As Peter writes,
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
– 1 Peter 1:3
We have a living hope! Thanks to Jesus we no longer have just the hope of this world which, if its in contrast to a living hope, would be nothing more than a dying hope. The birth of our flesh offers us only death, but the birth of the Spirit, gives us new life and a hope beyond anything else (John 3:6). And when we receive that kind of hope from God, is his Holy Spirit going to sit void and stagnant in us? Of course not! It’s called “living water” for a reason. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in us, sanctifying us, and leading us in the will of God (which we learned already we are expected to be within). Would the Holy Spirit of God lead us in any other way? Of course not! That would be contrary to His nature. In the same way, our nature should want to be within the will of God and therefore, our deeds would fall in suit with that.
Summary of Faithfulness
With all of that said, where is the faithfulness of the church today? If we are the church – the body of Christ – faithfulness is not something that we should have. Faithfulness is something that God sees when he looks at you. Take a moment today and ask yourself honestly, “What does God see when he sees me?” His Son Jesus is known as the “faithful, true witness” (Revelation 3:14). What kind of witness are you for Him? Are you the servant who takes what you’ve been given and buries it in the sand? Or are you someone who uses what you’ve been given by Him, for Him? Do you seek to bring him glory in all you do? And that is the question that will lead us into the study on Goodness, which is to be our next video in the Fruit of the Spirit series.