Sunday, July 5, we entered month seven of our nine month study on the Fruits of the Spirit. Our focus for July is the fruit of Faithfulness. In its most healthy form faithfulness is our response to God's faithfulness to us, rather than solely an act of our will. Grudgingly (and often resentfully) remaining faithful is the lowest (and least attractive form) of faithfulness. However, faithfulness born out of a growing awareness of God's faithfulness to us brings life to all it comes in contact with.
This week we looked at the barriers (poor soil conditions) that keep the fruit of Faithfulness from growing in our lives.
Two of the barriers to healthy Faithfulness are: our lack of trust, and our attachment to people, possessions, and situations in our lives. These two, trust and attachment, are intertwined. The more attached (dependent, needing to control or posses people, things, or circumstances) we are, the less we trust. And conversely, the more we trust (God), the less attached we become to people, conditions and things in our lives.
Trust (and healthy faithfulness) grow as we evaluate our beliefs about things we are attached to. We falsely believe that some external circumstance, person or thing will make us happy or feel fulfilled. If we are honest, and willing to look our life experience, reality shows us something different. Certainly these externals can offer temporary happiness. But ultimately, often after the initial rush has faded, they lose their power to make us happy or fulfilled.
Another difficulty surfaces when we introduce God into this equation. Often unconsciously we tell ourselves that God doesn't love us or can't be trusted if we don't get or maintain these external attachments and desires. We say, often subconsciously, "He isn't good" if we don't get or maintain the job, the person, the health, the status, the possessions we think we need. The reality however, that God, through Jesus and the scriptures, is trying to get us to embrace is that we already have everything we need for our life and happiness. He has already abundantly provided His love, His life, His Kingdom and His never ending faithfulness to us.
When we cling to anything external, it possesses us and we loose our freedom. It is in seeing our clinging (attachments) for what they are (a nightmare in the making) that we can be free of them and begin to truly love, trust and live. When we are free, we respond in a faithfulness that is born of the Spirit. This Faithfulness is life giving and allows hardship and loss to be absorbed in the beauty and rhythm of God's life. Faithfulness then, becomes a response of love and gratitude by a person who is growing in trust and cooperating with the Spirit to lessen their external attachments.
By Babs May-Clark