Found Faithful - Part One
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
I have glazed over the word a million times when reading this familiar passage. This time, it was as if my eyes were opened to see the word faithfulness sandwiched in the middle of the list.
faithfulness: having or showing true and constant support or loyalty
For far too long, I regarded faithfulness as something I had to muster from my own strength, as though faithfulness were my own ability to choose the right thing. By my definition, faithfulness was the fruit of self, not Spirit.
However, this passage reveals that it is actually the Holy Spirit who empowers us to be faithful. Being a faithful follower of Jesus does not result from our own strength, but instead it is the outgrowth of the Holy Spirit working within us.
If we are going to be found faithful by God, we must commit to seeking Him authentically and consistently over the course of our lives.
The fact that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit means that seeking God is actually a responding to His faithfulness in seeking us.
Years ago, I read Henry Blackaby’s book, Experiencing God, and he so clearly explained the process of seeking God by quoting Romans 3:11. There is no one who seeks God (Romans 3:11, NIV).
He noted that no one seeks God because he thought of it or because of his own desire.
We only seek God because He seeks us first.
This truth relieved my heart. Instead of carrying the heavy burden that seeking God was something I must initiate and accomplish in my own strength, I began to focus my effort on responding to His already-in-motion seeking of me.
Anybody else let out a deep exhale of grace right there?
How freeing is it to know that we don’t have to strain and stress as if seeking God were some mysterious process?
Rather than being the doer and initiator of the seeking, we are free to focus our efforts on being the observer and responder to His seeking. Understanding faithfulness as the seeking God in response to His seeking of us relieves us from what we were never called to do: attempting to be faithful in our own strength.
When we understand and believe that we literally can’t be faithful without the Holy Spirit, we pick up the light burden of yoking with His strength, asking the Holy Spirit to make us aware of how the Father is already seeking us.
Though this seems only a minor adjustment in our thinking, it launches a major spiritual shift that cultivates a faithful heart within us.
If our faithfulness is a response to God’s faithfulness, then one of the most effective ways we can seek God is to ask for eyes to see how He is already seeking us and those around us. Asking for awareness of how He is seeking us is in and of itself seeking God.
2 Chronicles 15:2 speaks so clearly to this way of seeking God: The Lord is with you when you are with him.
God is ever-present, so He is already everywhere. Therefore, what is actually at stake is the perceptibility of His presence.
If I want God to be with me in what I do, to make His presence obvious and noticeable, then I must focus my efforts on being with Him, joining Him in what He is already doing. He will undoubtedly be in the center of His own will, so our heart’s desire should be to position ourselves where He has promised His presence.
Often my aligning with Him occurs in the simple moments and personal space of our hearts, such as applying the truth of His Word and responding to the leading of His voice (which is most often contrary to our way of thinking and living).
God, what words have you already spoken in The Word that I can apply to my current situation?
What whisper in my soul should I yield to instead of disregard?
My prayers shift from, “God, be with me,” to, “God, help me to be with You.”
Would you make me aware of how You are already moving and working so that I can join You in that?
These shifts in our prayers and thinking cultivate the heartbeat of faithfulness within us: servanthood. Asking God to be with me in my plans and to bless what I want is advancement of self interest. But asking God how I can join in His plans to bless and glorify Him - that is servanthood.
Our entire lives ought to be aiming for one statement: Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Do you want to be found faithful by God? Faithfulness begins with understanding that we must rely on the Holy Spirit to be loyal to God in our everyday lives. Let’s respond to God’s seeking of us today and everyday. He is faithful.
Father, thank You for seeking us, for never giving up on us, both throughout history and in our personal lives. Thank You for revealing that I do not have to be faithful in my own strength. Thank You that You have given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to be steadfast in our faith. Let this truth take root in our hearts and reshape the way we seek You in our day to day lives. Holy Spirit, give me eyes to see how God is seeking me. Help my heart to desire join His work, and thus become the good and faithful servant He has empowered me to be. Amen.