In what way is faithfulness a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Faithfulness has two different meanings. If we mean the faithfulness of God or Jesus, it refers to steadfastness, honesty, firmness, and God's utter dependability based on His unchanging character. If we mean human faithfulness, it refers to our steady allegiance to God and our trust in Him. A "faithful" man is "full of faith"; he believes in the reality of God as revealed in Scripture.
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Faithfulness is part of the fruit of the Spirit; it is created within us when we allow the Spirit to work in us. Not only does the Spirit induce us to be faithful, He explains why we should be faithful. John 16:13-14 says that the Spirit discloses Jesus' character to the world. First John 5:6-7 says the Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Savior. And Hebrews 10:15 says that the Spirit bears witness to salvation.
If we are full of faithfulness, we believe God; we trust that He always has our best interests at heart. We trust that we are ultimately safe. We believe that He loves us (John 3:16); He wants to be with us (John 14:2); He is powerful enough to save us (John 14:6); and He is working in us (Philippians 1:6). And we live with the confidence that we will receive God's promised blessings, even if we never see them in this lifetime.
Faithfulness is necessary when God's promises seem to completely contradict what we see. When God's ways are hidden from us (Isaiah 45:15), when evil strikes, when hardships come one right after another—that's when we need the Spirit to produce His fruit of faithfulness in us.
Faith is the opponent of fear. Faith protects us from fear, and fear erodes faith. Ephesians 6:13-17 lists the armor of God. Faith, "in addition to all," is the shield. If our shield of faith is strong enough to put out all the flaming arrows of the enemy, we are spiritually invulnerable.
Mark 4:35-41 tells the story of Jesus calming the storm. After being roused by the terrified disciples, Jesus stopped the wind and the waves and said, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" (Mark 4:40). We are used to being told that trials bring about spiritual growth. Here's another side of things: it wasn't that Jesus was intentionally using a fierce storm to grow the disciples' faith; it's that He didn't even consider the situation worthy of notice. The disciples feared because they had no faith. Their faith would eventually grow to the point where imprisonment became an opportunity for a praise service (Acts 16:22-25) and a snake bite was a minor irritant (Acts 28:4-5). Faith in God means not fearing worldly troubles, not just because God's sovereign will is for our benefit, but because we "count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8).
Hebrews 11 is often called "The Roll Call of the Saints." It is a list of Old Testament characters who knew God and steadfastly believed His promises. None of these figures saw God's promises completely fulfilled. Abraham and Sarah were able to witness the birth of Isaac, but neither lived long enough to see their line become a mighty nation. Joseph had faith that the Israelites would escape Egypt and return to the Promised Land, but that didn't occur until four hundred years after his death. Moses trusted God that his service would bring Israel to the Promised Land, but he never lived to see God's people become a settled nation.
The Bible has much to say about the gift of faith:
"For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23b). Whatever actions are not informed by God's identity and character and not driven by trust in Him must be sin.
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Hope is "the eager anticipation of good." A faithful person knows God and trusts that He will fulfill His promises—those things he hopes for but are still unseen.
"The righteous shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:11). The fruit of Spirit gives us life; we don't simply endure—we live by faith.
God is faithful, and He grants that quality to His children. The Holy Spirit produces in believers His faithfulness. As a result, we believe God is Who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. His faithful character directly affects our lives. We have nothing to fear as we wait for Him to fulfill His promises. This assurance is a fruit of the Spirit.
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