When you look up the top qualities essential in any lasting relationship, you’ll find the essence of pistis. That’s the Greek word found in the list of the fruit of the spirit passage in Galatians 5:22 concerning faithfulness. Three definitions of pistis include our relationship to God, our attitude about trusting God and Christ and lastly, having a moral conviction or assurance. When it comes to our relationship with others this last definition of pistis reveals itself in these ways according to an article in Psychology Today:
- I am trustworthy.
- I am honest with others.
- I am generally very dependable.
- I am loyal to the people I care about.
- I am easily able to trust others.
My question today is: when you look at this list can you confidently say “yes that’s me” to all of them? If so, you are the living proof of the fruit of faithfulness.
All the fruits listed by the apostle Paul can be viewed in these ways: God’s relationship with us, our inner relationship with Him, and the manifestation of that relationship to the world. Too often we forgo that last part. We say we know the love of God and love God but is the proof seen by how we love others? When James tells us, “Faith by itself if not accompanied by action, is dead” (Ja 2:17) it should cause us to step back and do a self-analysis of our works in the name of Christ.
The age-old discussion about faith and works so often looks at one or the other. While yes, we are saved by faith alone, the proof of that faith is our works in His name. Some might ask, why do I need to prove my faith to anyone? While it is dangerous to think we need to prove something to the world we must have a heart change when we are re-born in faith. That heart seeks to prove to God how much we love, trust and place all our life in His hands. We do His will each and every day. And His will, as written over and over in the Bible is to be honest, trustworthy, dependable, loving, caring, good stewards of our treasure and blessings, all while seeking to help others.
"Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1 Timothy 6:18
I am thankful to say I believe the people around me can say that I have always been a loyal, trustworthy and dependable friend. What I can’t say is that I have always been this way in the Lord’s name. Before giving my life over to Christ my motivations were based on not wanting others to think badly of me and I held my convictions up in pridefulness. And now? I can say I apply these traits in ways I would never had in the past. When God asks me to be dependable to someone I’d rather just not have in my life I tell Him: “yes, if it is your will.” If He asks me to make a hard choice, one that will display my trustworthiness, I say, “yes.”
That’s the difference between acting as a person of the world and a daughter of Christ. He’s going to ask you to be faithful to Him and do things in faithfulness for others that our flesh screams against. That, my friend is real pistis.
I have a dear friend who has been asked by God to befriend someone who is difficult to love. It’s not a relative or a longtime acquaintance. It’s a fairly new person in her life. I watch and listen as she lives in obedience and faithfulness to God in this situation. The dependableness she shows this other person is the proof of her faithfulness, not just to God but to the world around her. There is no grumbling, gossip, or “donkeyness” (you know, being dragged to do good). She does it out of love for her Father who loves her deeply.
Friends, some of you regularly back out of commitments, we tell little lies to cover up our transgressions, we drop our friends at the first sign of conflict. Before God can trust us in the work He wants us to do for the kingdom let’s start with the small stuff in our own lives. Not because we have to but because we are faithful to a God who is faithful to us. It might just shock a few people into wondering about this change in you. And when asked we can say, “God is doing a good work in me.”