Today we are continuing to look at the Fruit of the Spirit, as found in Galatians 5: 22-26:
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
Today’s fruit is faithfulness. Not faith, but faithfulness. For the longest time, I read this as “faith.” But faithfulness is something a little different. Faithfulness is steadfastness. Faithfulness is loyalty. Faithfulness is sticking by something or someone.
This fruit teaches us to not treat people as disposable. So often in the world, people’s value comes from what they can do for us. And when their usefulness is over, we move on. People are commodities that are useful not for who they are but for what they do.
That way of thinking makes it easy to move on from them. To get rid of friendships. To not really care for family. It’s not about what I can do for them but what they can do for me. The Spirit, as we’ve seen over and over, tells us that is not the way that we should work, that is not the way that we should be.
Loyalty matters. Loyalty to people, loyalty to community, loyalty to church, loyalty to God. It’s easy to be loyal when things are smooth. It’s easy to stand by people when things are easy. It’s easy to stand by church when things are going well. It’s easy to stand up for God when there is no trouble.
The Spirit produces faithfulness within us, especially when it is not easy. That is when we most need these gifts. To stand by the people we love, to stand by what is true, to stand by our “people” when it is not easy.
The world tells us that people and community is disposable and don’t truly matter.
The Spirit tells us that is simply not so. Standing by people, standing by the community, standing by our churches, standing by God, these things matter. Faithfulness is a gift of the Spirit. Faithfulness matters.
It is a gift from God.
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