The Fruit of the Ruach is Faithfulness
DIG: How many of the fruit of the Ruach should we have? What does the third grouping of fruit point to? What kind of a culture do we live in? What does ADONAI expect of us? What are the four ways that we can be faithful?
REFLECT: How, as believers, are we supposed to act? As you examine your life, do you really think you have been honest with yourself? Do you speak the truth in love and grace? Do you keep your word? If you were on trial for being a believer, would there be enough evidence to convict? Can God trust you? Semper fi?
When Paul spoke of walking by the Ruach (to see link click Bv – Walk by the Ruach, and Not the Desires of the Flesh), he was not referring to following after mystical visions and revelations. Instead, he provided a list of attributes that describe a Ruach-led person. Thus, the evidence of the fruit of the Ruach is a changed life. Paul now presents the proper path according to which those faithful to God in His Messiah should walk. The fruit stand in contrast to the deeds of the flesh. The Ruach’s fruit simply show us the qualities which characterize the Kingdom of God. But, in contrast to the deeds of the flesh, the fruit of the Ruach (singular, like a cluster of grapes) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22a). All of these elements should be a part of your life as you allow the Ruach ha-Kodesh to flow through you.
When we get to the fruit of the Ruach in 5:22 and 23, the first grouping of three, love, joy, and peace are God-ward, everything flows from that, and are all single syllable words; the second grouping of three, patience, kindness, and goodness are man-ward, how we treat each other, and are all two syllable words; and the third grouping of three, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in-ward, it’s how we become what ADONAI wants us to be, and are all three syllable words.
Faithfulness (Greek: pistis, meaning faith, trust, belief) is the manifestation of the fruit of the Ruach that pertains to reliability, loyalty, integrity and trustworthiness. Jeremiah declared that mercies of ADONAI will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Because Yeshua was faithful, He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. He humbled Himself – becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. And because of the Son’s faithfulness, the Father highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:7-9). And just as He was faithful when He came to earth the first time, He will be faithful to come again in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11c). In his great vision on Patmos, John saw Messiah seated on a white horse, and the One riding on it is called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). Be faithful until death, the Lord tells He followers, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:11).
There are many in the Bible who are called faithful. Several would not be a surprise to you: men like Moshe, Samuel, Abraham, Dani’el, Paul, Timothy and Peter. But there are some people you probably never heard of, like Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Lydia (Acts 16:11-15), and Onesimus (Colossians 4:9). These are probably not common names, yet the Bible says they were faithful. They were not famous, but they were loyal to the Lord. And ADONAI expects us to be faithful also. In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul writes: This, then, is how you ought to regard us (believers): as servants of Messiah and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (First Corinthians 4:1-2). God is faithful and He expects us to be faithful. What does that mean?
We are expected to be men and women of integrity. We live in a culture with little to no integrity. Think about this for a moment. We live in a culture that actually celebrates the lack of integrity. If a person can cut corners, or do less, in business, in sports, in school, and get away with it, our culture applauds that. But as believers, we are expected to be reliable, loyal and trustworthy to ADONAI. There are four ways that we can be faithful.
First, be honest with yourself. Many times when we compare ourselves with the society around us, it makes us feel better about ourselves by saying, “Well, I’m doing a better job than most people. My morals are a little higher, and my intentions are a little bit better.” So we justify our sin by lying to ourselves, saying, “I’m better than most people. It really doesn’t matter. My behavior is acceptable with God.” Integrity and faithfulness begins when we are honest with ourselves. The most dangerous lies that we tell are the lies that we tell to ourselves. When we convince ourselves are our sin is acceptable because we are better than most people. But God sees it differently. David wrote: ADONAI, You search me and know me. Whenever I sit down or stand up, You know it. You discern my thinking from afar. You observe my traveling and my resting and You are familiar with all my ways . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any offensive way within me, and lead me in the way of everlasting (Psalm 139:1-3 and 23-24). Faithfulness begins with being honest with yourself.
Secondly, learn to speak the truth. We live in a culture that does a lot of things with the truth other than speak it. We live in a culture that spins the truth, alters the truth, exaggerates the truth, and shades the truth. People take a little bit of the truth and dress it up to put themselves in the best light. They make themselves feel good because it contains an element of the truth, but it’s not the whole truth. So if we are going to be men and women of integrity, we are not only going to be honest with ourselves, we are going to be honest with others also. Where do you find truth? You find truth in God’s Word, Yeshua said: I am the way the truth and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). But we must speak the truth with love and grace. There are people who are all about love and grace. They just love everybody and think that people should do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25b), or do whatever makes them feel good. They speak with a lot of love and grace, but they don’t speak the truth because that might offend someone. There are other people who speak with truth, but they don’t speak with much love or grace. They would say to someone with an arrogant tone, “If you don’t repent and accept Messiah, you’re going to go to hell.” Their attitude says, “You’re going to hell and you deserve it.” They speak the truth with a gun in their hand. We need to speak the truth in love and grace.
Thirdly, keep your word. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No” (Matthew 5:37). When you agree to something do you keep your word? Is your word reliable? Can people trust your word? One of the reasons George Washington became president was because of the trustworthiness of his word. There were others at that time who were better educated and were smarter than he was. But nobody had a reputation for keeping their word more than he did. When they needed a commander-in-chief of the continental army, they chose him; when they needed the first president of the United States, it was George Washington. There was a young woman applying for a job, and the person interviewing her said, “If I hire you for this job will you be honest and trustworthy?” And she replied, “Whether you give me this job or not, I am honest and trustworthy.” She was a woman of integrity. Trustworthiness. Faithfulness. Keep your word.
Lastly, be who you are. Now, by that, I don’t mean that whatever rebellious lifestyle you have chosen is just fine, and you need to be who you are. What I mean is this. You are a believer in Yeshua Messiah. At some point in your life, you made a decision to follow Him. No one forced you to do that and now you are a child of God. The Ruach ha-Kodesh lives in you. So act like it. Be who you are. Stop living life with one foot in the world and the other foot in heaven. You cannot live like the world lives (First John 2:15-17). You can’t swim in the toilet and come up smelling like a rose. For some people their “religion” is determined by time and place. If it’s the right time and they’re in the right place they act “religious.” They put on their church clothes, they put on their church mask, they sing the church songs, they raise their hand when everybody else raises their hands, but when it is another time and another place they act like the world. Be who you are. Live your life as a believer every moment of every day no matter where you are or who you are with. Be who you are.
The Bible tells us that ADONAI is faithful to us. Sometimes people ask, “Can I trust God to forgive me or handle my problems?” Let me tell you a bigger question than that, “Can God trust you?” The Bible says that from everyone given much, much will be required; and from the one for whom more is provided, all the more they will ask of him (Luke 12:48b). Can God trust you?
On October 23, 1983 on a Sunday morning in Beruit, Lebanon. There was a multinational peacekeeping force that had been place there by the United Nations that was made up primarily of some soldiers from France and America. Early that Sunday morning before we knew anything about suicide bombers, before 9-11 had happened, two suicide bombers drove two different trucks with the equivalent of 18,000 pounds of explosives into the barracks that held those soldiers. Over 300 people were instantly killed that morning; 241 of them were Americans, 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 army soldiers. It was the largest peacetime explosion in the history of mankind. And only 3 Marines survived the blast. One of them was a lance-corporal named Jeff Nashton.
He was badly injured. His legs were broken, his lungs were collapsed, his skull was fractured, his jaw was broken and had to be wired shut, and he was blinded. He was flown from Beruit to Germany, to an American hospital there where he could receive the best treatment possible. While he was in the hospital, the commandant of the Marine Corps, a man named Paul Kelley, went to Germany to visit him. He was the highest ranking official in the Marine Corps. He was a four-star general. He served on the president’s joint-chiefs-of-staff.
When the nurses and doctors told Jeff who was standing beside his bed, but because he was blind, he didn’t believe who it was. Jeff shook his head from side-to-side as if to say, “No, the commandant of the Marine Corps wouldn’t come to visit a lowly lance-corporal.” So General Kelley took Jeff’s hand and put it on his shoulder so that he could feel the four stars. Then as best he could with the condition that he was in, he struggled to salute his commanding officer. General Kelley took a purple heart and pinned it on Jeff’s bandages and said, “On behalf of the president of the United States, I present to you this purple heart. The corporal couldn’t talk because his jaw was wired shut, but he motioned that he wanted to write something down. A nurse guided Jeff’s pen-held-hand to a note pad that she held. He wrote two words.
Semper fi (always faithful)
That’s a great motto for the Marine Corps, but it’s even a better motto for believers.
Lord, help me to live my life as being always faithful to You, so that one day when I stand before You, I will hear the words: Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into your Master’s joy! (Matthew 25:23).
Dear Great and Faithful Father, How Awesome You are! Your chesed love is both a deep loyal love based on faithfulness in a relationship. We can totally count on Your chesed love in our relationship with You. We have been let down in other relationships – but we can always trust Your care, mercy and love for You are always faithful! How rich is the meaning of your chesed love, three concepts always interacting – strength, steadfastness, and love? Like three cords of love that come together to richly express a strong and loyal commitment to your covenant family; not just an obligation but also full of generosity, not only loyalty, but also merciful. Praise you for this wonderful, strong faithful chesed love. We desire to always be faithful to You. In the holy name of Your Son and the power of His resurrection. Amen