Today’s Reading: Psalm 80 & 117
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…
It seems to me that the word FAITHFULNESS is reserved for God Himself. If God is the definition of faithfulness, then is it even possible for man to be defined as faithful? This was the question I asked myself when I went to study the fruit of faithfulness. I found that out of the 68 times the word “faithfulness” appears in the Bible, almost every time it is referring to God and His faithfulness. How then can we be faithful? Then I found this Scripture in Isaiah that seems to explain it all:
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” – Isaiah 40:6-8
In Texas, I had plants growing in my backyard with these big, beautiful leaves. I watered them “faithfully” but I was losing the battle against the sun, which browned the edges and caused them to quickly lose their beauty. One day, the plants starting producing these beautiful tropical flowers – flowers that would be beautiful for a day and then would start wilting. Only one bloom sustained its beauty for more than a day.
We are like grass and our faithfulness is like the flowers – the potential for beauty is there but it cannot sustain itself. Without nourishment, it will wither and fall. No matter how hard I try of my own strength to be faithful, it will not be sustained. It will wilt and the petals will drop. It is the faithfulness of God that endures forever. But here is the good news – although we cannot truly be faithful, the Spirit living within us can produce faithfulness. Therefore, if our lives can be described as faithful, it is not to our glory but to the glory of the God who gave us the Spirit whose fruit is faithfulness.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3
Oh that the Holy Spirit would use my heart as a tapestry! And as long as the Spirit is producing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, it would be great if He could soften up this heart of mine and tame this tongue so that GENTLENESS would be the fruit of my walk with Christ.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
Oh, the power of a gentle response – so powerful that it can break a bone (Prov. 25:15)! Gentleness is not weakness. Remember when God responded gently?
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:11-13
Jesus describes himself as gentle and is described by others as gentle.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9
So if God is found in a gentle whisper and Jesus is gentle and humble in heart, it is no surprise that the fruit of the Spirit living within us is gentleness – that God’s plan for our life is to produce gentleness.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. – Philippians 4:5
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
Thank you, God, for these truths this morning. I woke up still soaking in yesterday’s truths – that you are good and that you are kind. And now I praise you for being a faithful God and a gentle God of grace, mercy and compassion. Lord, fill me with your Spirit and make me into the child of God you want me to be. I love you. Amen.