The fruit of the Spirit describes the seeable results of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Galatians 5:22-23 reads,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Love is the overarching trait and motivator for every choice we make as followers of Jesus. It is how we are supposed to be recognized (John 13:35) and if we act in real love we will be obeying God and so telling Him how much we love Him (1 John 5:3).
The description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a aligns with the fruit of the Spirit and is also an apt depiction of Jesus especially in His attitude toward us. We strive to have this kind of love for the world just as God does.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
Today, let’s look closer at faithfulness. Faithfulness is closely associated with patience and perseverance and it is impossible without love and hope. Faith often requires us to patiently endure the present circumstances as we expect God’s promises to be revealed and bestowed. Faith is knowing that God said it and even if we cannot see it, it is. 1 John 4:8 tells us, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Because He is love, His Spirit must be patient, kind, just, and faithful. Understanding God’s faithfulness helps us to have faith and inspires that faith to flourish. God is not bound by our faith, weakness, or anything that might restrain us. 2 Timothy 2:8-13 reads,
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful--
for he cannot deny himself.
Faith gives us the ability to be patient because we know that God is who He says He is. He is faithful, He cannot deny Himself. He cannot be faithless or loveless, or unjust. We can trust that.
Just as 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the great love chapter, Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter. If you want to understand faith on a deeper level reading Hebrews 11 may help you. It begins with a definition of faith, a description of what faith is. Hebrews 11:1-3 reads,
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Faith is simple and profound at the same time. When you sit in a chair, you exercise faith, the assurance that the chair will hold you. When a baby cries, she has faith, she trusts that her mother or father will meet her needs. It is by faith, belief that God’s Word is true that you were saved. Ephesians 2:4-10 says,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Faith can do so much more! It takes just a tiny amount of faith, say the spark of faith that led you to call on the Lord for salvation, to do great things. That miniscule amount of faith brought about the best and biggest miracle you will ever experience, the miracle of the absolution of sinfulness and the endowment of righteousness, but as it grows through use it enables you to do great works, miracles like spreading the Gospel, hearing and speaking the word of God, healing, teaching, and being transformed to the image of Christ. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
A mustard seed is minute; the average mustard seed is about a millimeter and a half in diameter. They grow slowly to maturity to about 6-20 feet tall but the extraordinary ones can be as tall as 30 feet! That is from a seed that can barely be seen when held in the palm of your hand. Each time you use your faith in God to command a mountain to move, an illness to be cured, a broken bone to heal, or speak the truth, and love someone your faith grows regardless of the visible results of your effort. In time, mustard seed of faith that through God’s gift of grace made you His child will be a towering sturdy fruitful tree. By God’s word spoken through you, mountains will throw themselves into the sea, good news will be spoken to the poor, broken hearts will be healed, captives liberated, prison doors opened, God’s favor proclaimed, those who mourn will be comforted, beautiful headdresses will replace ashes, gladness will replace grief, people will grow in righteousness and the LORD will be glorified! Those are the works of the Messiah according to Isaiah 61:1-3. And according to Jesus, you will do all this and more if you believe in Him, that is have faith in Him. John 14:12-17 reads,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Do you believe Jesus is who He says He is? Do you believe the Holy Spirit is who He says He is? Do you believe the Father is who He says He is? God is Awesome, Almighty, Good, Faithful, and True. He is the Amen, the Beginning and the End. We can ask him for anything in Jesus and He will give it! And get this, He can do more than anything we could ever imagine or ask for (Ephesians 3:20). Believer, Child of God, be courageous, God is with you and you can be faithful to follow Jesus, glorify the Father, and walk in the Spirit, and obey the LORD God.
This life is temporary and in comparison to eternity, is only a moment. Faith keeps our eyes on the future and the awesomeness of what is waiting for us. Romans 8:18-25 encourages us to remain faithful.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
If we know God is faithful, we can be faithful. In fact, we can’t be anything but faithful if we truly understand just how faithful and great God is. Search your Bible for phrases such as God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you. It is in there many times. Even the promised name of Jesus, Emmanuel, means God with us. You can believe God is with you and He will not leave you. He will not leave you the same as when you first called on Him. Philippians 1:6 reads,
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
He will finish His great work in you. Moreover, by God’s greatness you have already been perfected, For Him, it is done (Hebrews 10:14). As you walk in it out, you can trust that everything that is happening, good or bad will be used to conform you to that perfection the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
Be courageous, let God work in you to transform you into who you were made to be, blessed, approved for a purpose, holy, and called. Walk in the Spirit, walk in the image of Christ our Lord. 1 John 2:1-7 and 1 John 3:11, 16-24
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
11For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
God’s love for you enables you to have faith and faith enables you to love others. This kind of love requires action which is the faith you have in who God is. Walk in the power of that love and faith, know God is with you and in you and you can do the mighty work of loving people. Ask anything in His name and He will give it. Ask for salvation for the lost, comfort for the mourning, healing for the broken and life for the dead and He will give it!