“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
These last few months, I’ve learned a lot about faith. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my ups and downs with my beliefs. At times, I have felt so certain of God and secure in my understanding of Him; at other times, my doubts and confusion have grown to the point of nearly swallowing me. There have been points in my life where I almost gave up on God and decided that He wasn’t real. But there have also been great times in my life where I’ve felt God’s presence in unmistakable ways. My spiritual journey reached a major turning point about eight months ago, when my husband and I finally found a church that we felt was right for us in our new city.
Since we’ve been a part of Passion Life Church, we’ve learned some amazing things about God. I’ve found mentors who have helped me through some of my struggles in faith. I’ve found friends who encourage me and pray with and for me. Because of this community, or more accurately, because of what God is doing through this community, I am the strongest I have ever been, faith-wise. Yet the biggest growth of all has been within the last few months and weeks, after experiencing the tragedy of miscarriage. My faith was tested almost to the breaking point when that happened. I thank God that I have been blessed with a faith-filled church family, who helped me to work through the pain and actually learn to trust God more because of it.
Now that I’m ready to get back to writing more regularly, I want to finish my series on the fruit of the spirit. The seventh fruit, faithfulness, just so happens to be one thing I’ve learned a lot about recently and I am eager to share my thoughts.
To be faithful means to be loyal, constant, and steadfast, or to have a strong belief in something or someone. As a fruit of the spirit, it means that as we walk through our lives with God, his Holy Spirit develops greater and greater faith in us. We start off as spiritual babies, believing Him for our salvation but perhaps not much else. As we grow, we discover that we can trust in God for many other things. We may become more attuned to the Holy Spirit and aware of the spiritual warfare going on around us. Then, we can learn to fight using our faith.
My biggest struggle after losing my baby was this question: Why would I trust God, or have faith in him, if he lets bad things like this happen? If this was his will, then how could he really be a good God? People would say things like “God must have known there was something wrong with the baby, so it was really a blessing in disguise that he didn’t give you a sick child.” I found that so ridiculous, because that’s just replacing one bad thing with another. Instead of being sad about having a miscarriage, I was supposed to be relieved about my baby being sick in the first place? That didn’t make sense to me. The most confusing part was the idea that God somehow wanted me to have a miscarriage. How could a good God do that? Why not just keep me from becoming pregnant in the first place?
My breakthrough came when I realized that it wasn’t God’s will. It definitely was the enemy’s will, though. And unfortunately, he won that battle. It seems a little short-sighted to me, seeing as my baby is now in Heaven and well out of his reach, but I guess he was just happy to make me and Cory so sad for a while. What he didn’t realize was that we’d come back stronger, ready to fight. Now that we understand things a little better, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Being faithful means that I am loyal to God and his will. I read his word and go to church so that I can learn more about his character and his will for my life. I fight against my own thoughts and ideas that I realize are contrary to God. I gently but firmly assert that the truth is the truth; that God’s character is love, that what the Bible says is reality, and that Jesus is the only way to God. Sometimes, people don’t like to hear those things, and in those cases, I back off but never back down from what I believe. I am loyal to God, and I’m determined to keep it that way.
Being faithful also means that I’m constant and steadfast. I believe that we are in a spiritual war, with the enemy constantly trying to “steal, kill, and destroy” as the Bible says in John 10:10. If I’m not vigilant in the fight, then he has more opportunities to get his way. But when I’m steadfast in my beliefs and constant in proclaiming God’s power and promises over myself and my family, then I win, because God wins. Cory and I have what are called “confessions” that we read each day. They’re not the Catholic kind of confessions, though, in which we confess our sins. Instead, they’re basically promises from the Bible and other things that we believe God wants for us. It goes something like this… “God, we know that you are our healer. In your name, we declare that we have healthy bodies and minds.” We have confessions for every area of our lives, from financial provision to health to our desire to have children. For each confession, we have a Bible verse to back it up and confirm that it is indeed God’s will. While at first I thought the idea of reading these confessions was strange, I soon realized that they have power. Romans 10:10 says “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” I believe that this verse is about more than just salvation; the Bible is full of amazing promises to us, and we grab ahold of them when we believe and confess them.
Finally, being faithful simply means that we believe. It means that we trust in God. The fact of the matter is that I will never fully understand him, but I can fully trust that he is good, that he loves me, and that ultimately, I am going to Heaven. Even though I am loyal to God, constant in the fight for his will, and believe that God himself is faithful to his promises, there still will be times when things don’t go the way I hope they will. Sometimes, God heals people slowly or through medical intervention rather than through an instant miracle. And sometimes, no matter how much faith I think I have, the devil still wins battles. It would be easy for me to lose faith in these situations. Instead of giving up on God or his promises, though, I can use my final piece of the faith puzzle and continue to trust him. Just because I miscarried once, doesn’t mean it will happen again. I trust God and I believe that it won’t.
One of my most treasured Bible verses that I rely on for having faith is in Matthew 9:29, when Jesus says “According to your faith let it be done to you.” God meets us where our faith is. If we trust him to save our souls, he will. If we trust him to provide for us, he will. If he trust him to heal us, he will. If we trust him to give us children, he will. As I continue walking with God, I believe that the Holy Spirit will continue to produce the fruit of faithfulness in me, and I’m beyond excited to see where that faith takes me.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”