Fruit of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS

WHAT IS FAITHFULNESS:

Faithfulness means to be full of faith. It is a way in which we can show God our trust, loyalty, and obedience to Him. In Hebrews chapter 11, the author talks much about what faith is and reminds us of many people in the Bible who walked with faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. 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. – Hebrews 11:1-3

We cannot always see how God’s plans are going to come to us or how they will play out. We cannot always see that God is working for us, even when it feels like everything is going wrong. However, by having faith, we can trust and have confidence that God is working all things out for our good. He is trying to teach us, guide us, and fulfill His plans through us.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. – Hebrews 11:6-7

When God told Noah to build an ark because the Lord was going to flood the earth, he did. Even though Noah could not see the future that God had in store, he still trusted and obeyed God. He did exactly what was told of him.

HOW IS GOD FAITHFUL:

I think God is faithful in an abundance of ways to us. A lot of the time, God is faithful to you and others around you in different ways and circumstances. Maybe, you prayed for your purpose to be shown to you, and God fulfilled it and rewarded you with a job. Maybe you dealt with some difficult circumstances in life or got your heartbroken. God might have shown His faithfulness to you by offering you time to heal and giving you friends and family members to help you get through those times.

His faithfulness might be shown to us in different ways, but overall, God is faithful. We all are unified by many faithful actions God has already done as well. A major example is that God was faithful by sending His Son to sacrifice Himself and die so that we may have eternal life with Him.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17

The Lord promised that a Messiah would eventually come to save God’s people long ago. Eventually, Jesus was born and shed His blood for our sins, so that we may live and walk with Him. God wanted you to be apart of His kingdom, so He fulfilled that promise He made long ago and made a way for that to happen.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

WALK BY FAITH:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8

I can’t give you one simple and easy answer to the question of how to live by faith. But I can tell you that a life with faith means walking, trusting, obeying, and approaching God with confidence in who He says He is and what He says He will do.

Walking by faith is not just about believing in God though. It says in the book of James that even the demons believed. A life full of faith calls for us to not only believe in God but to live out our lives faithfully, by our actions and our words.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:18-26

Set your heart and mind on God’s word, His character, and His love. Remind yourself of the moments in your life where God showed His faithfulness to you. Reflect on how Jesus obeyed and walked by faith in His Father. Learn from those in the Bible, like Noah, Abraham, and Rahab, who have each shown us their faith. Allow this to not only let you see God’s promises become fulfilled but also let your mind and heart be reminded that we can walk by faith as well.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: GOODNESS

WHAT IS GOODNESS:

From reading scripture, we can understand what goodness looks like by understanding the character of God. To me, goodness consists of being righteous and holy. And like the other attributes that we have discussed so far in this series, we can learn a lot about goodness from teachings in the Bible.

GOD’S GOODNESS:

The Book of Psalm speaks multiple times about the characteristics of God. It is a long book of the Bible, but I think it is a great way to get a better understanding of the love God’s people have for Him because of His goodness and righteousness. David gives us many verses that are focused on describing God’s character and even in his times of trouble, he still put his trust and comfort in God.

The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let Him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face.” – Psalm 11:5-7

Our God is holy, faithful, and good. He is sovereign and loving through and through. He is just and uses His righteous judgment when needed.

I use to have a difficult time understanding God’s goodness. I had this distorted thinking that God is only good on my good days. You know how you have those days that are just difficult and challenging and nothing seems to be going your way? Or maybe unfortunate events happen with our loved ones and we don’t understand why these tough things are happening?

Even on the hardest of days, God is still good. He is still allowing you to wake up and breathe. He is giving you all the necessities that are required for you to live an abundant life with Him and glorify Him with the purpose He has for you. He is going before you and fighting on your behalf.

God displays His goodness to us, not just by the blessings He gives us but by His righteousness and holiness.

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” – Psalm 121:7-8

HOW CAN WE DISPLAY GOODNESS:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16

Because God is holy and good, we can strive for goodness by learning from His teachings and obeying His Word. Along with the ten commandments, there are many rules that God mentions to us on how to live a holy life.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

God hates our sins. If we align our hearts with the Spirit, we can learn to walk in a way of seeking repentance and righteousness. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin again. We are human, and we are broken. But, it does mean we can focus our attention on God’s righteousness and walk towards His direction. We can aim to seek His will for our lives and not our desires and wants.

HIS WILL BE DONE:

“And He came out and went, as was His custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. And when He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation’. And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – Luke 22:39-44

When Jesus knew that the time was coming where He would be sacrificed on the cross for our sins, He was in great distress. But, even though Jesus did not want to endure the painful path set before Him, He still wanted God’s will to be done. Jesus displayed His holiness by setting His attention and focus on the Lord’s will.

Jesus teaches us time and time again that God wants our attention and our hearts. He wants us to be seeking Him and His kingdom first and forevermore. We serve a good and holy God, and even when we fall short and do not think we are worthy enough for the goodness He has for us, He still wants us.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE

I think we can all say we have had issues with patience before. Whether that is with wanting to get out of traffic faster or wanting a specific thing to happen right now. We think we know what is best for us, and we want to have control over the situation.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

However, God’s ways are always so much better than our own. He always has a better plan in store, even when we can’t see how everything is going to work out at the moment.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:25

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT PATIENCE:

I think the concept of patience correlates with the concept of faith. To have faith and to be faithful, patience plays a role in that too. Having faith in God means trusting Him and being patient with Him. However, being patient is not as easy as it seems.

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6:11-12

Especially during recent times, patience is something that we have all probably been working on right now. We don’t know when the pandemic will get better nor do we know how things are going to play out afterward.

But as Christ-followers, we are told to be imitators of faith and patience. There are a lot of people who are struggling with faith and patience in the world right now. Maybe you are too. But we have to remember that our God is always in control, and we are representing Him. We are called to be a representation of Christ and bear patience during this season.

REAL-LIFE PATIENCE:

We get told to have patience in our life, but how do we really live with patience?

First, ask for it. When we seek patience in our lives, the first step is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to work in us. The Holy Spirit has so much power within us. When we present our requests to the Lord, He can work within us and provide us the things we need.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24

Second, know your triggers. What are the things that trigger you to become impatient? I think this part of the process might be the one that takes some time figuring out. However, noticing the things in your life that cause you to struggle with patience is very helpful in your walk with Christ.

For me, comparison causes me to become impatient. I want what those other people have, but I’m not at that point in my life. I have to reflect on knowing that God created me and has a unique purpose for my life. I am right where I need to be.

Third, learn how to respond to those triggers. We can’t always control our exposure to the things that trigger us or tempt us to become impatient. However, we can control our response to them. Maybe that is to start saying something in your head to bring some patience to yourself. Or close your eyes and just pray.

And finally, practice practice practice. There will be some days where patience will be hard to hold onto. We’re human. We are not perfect. However, we can still strive to be better. We can always try to be better than we were yesterday. But you have to offer yourself grace on those difficult days too.

Hope you are able to be comforted with patience this week and enjoy the season God has you in right now.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: PEACE

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PEACE THIS WEEK! I think we could all use a little peace in our lives right about now, don’t you think?

We live in such a chaotic and uncertain world. Because of this, it leads to us spending a lot of our time and energy on worrying and staying busy. But because of Jesus, we can have peace with us at all times, even when life feels shaky.

WHAT IS PEACE:

To be honest, I think we all have a different meaning of peace. Some might think peace is a sense of being calm or being content. Others might say it is silence, tranquility, or security.

I think when we hear the word “peace”, we also each picture something in our minds. Something that brings us peace, makes us feel calm and provides a sense of comfort. For you, it might be an object or a place. Maybe a memory where you felt at peace.

When I hear the word “peace”, I immediately think of the ocean. The sound of the waves and the view of the water always seems to calm me and gives me comfort. I think the reason I have always pictured the ocean as my “image of peace” is because I tend to reflect on when Jesus was able to calm the storm that appeared to Him and His disciples.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – Mark 4:35-41

See, the disciples were not expecting a great storm to come and disrupt them. They were not prepared for the storm. They did not know what to do and they also did not know what was going to happen next. Would the storm sink their boat or would Jesus help them?

Fear and uncertainty can cause us to lose our peace quickly if we are not prepared for those things. It’s like when you get a test for a class and nothing you studied for is even on it. I don’t know about you but that can cause me to freak out real quick.

HOW DO WE FIND PEACE:

I think “finding peace” is something everyone wants to find. But I think we have to understand that peace is not something the world can give us. Not long-lasting peace.

The world can give us temporary happiness and temporary comfort, but the kind of peace you truly desire to find is only found in God alone.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13

Because of Christ, Jesus has given us peace. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. The Spirit has great power, and because of that power, we can have peace with us at all times. 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

However, I think in the world we live in, many things can cause us to lose peace in moments of our lives. Worry, fear, doubt, and frustration can come to the surface, and peace seems very far away in those moments.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

If we continue to keep our minds on who God is and what He wants for us, we can come back to that peace. Sometimes, you might have to ask God for peace. Other times, peace might seem very near to you. Either way, peace is a lot like the other fruits. It can be challenging to have it, but once you do, the Spirit can do incredible things, not only inside of you but also around you.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:6

LIVING WITH PEACE:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – Romans 12:18

Peace can restore relationships and bring loved ones together. Jesus calls us to live peacefully with one another. Sometimes, this can be difficult, but if we focus on how Jesus lived with the people around Him, it gives you a better sense of how to do so. Jesus also lived with His mindset on the Spirit. Because of that, He was able to not only have peace but become peace.

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. – 1 Peter 3:11

By turning away from evil and focusing our attention back on God, we can continue to live a life full of peace. Maybe a realistic way to do this is by doing a self-reflection of your life at this very moment. What are the things or who are the people that are helping you grow more in your faith and become more at peace? What are the things or people who are affecting you negatively or turning you away from God and towards sin? Sometimes, those reflections can be painful and require work to change your lifestyle, but they are beneficial. Those self-reflections allow us to be more mindful of our relationship with the Lord and where we want that relationship to be.

This week, I am praying God will bring comfort and peace into whatever situations you might be facing. I pray that you can celebrate the good blessings that God has given you and remember His faithfulness during this season in your life. 

Stay safe,

Claire