Galatians 5:22, 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Ask a group of married couples what they regard as top of the list on their marital goals and you will most likely come across the word faithfulness. Faithfulness is very important in building trust in a marriage and so many couples have found themselves in trouble because one or both parties have failed to be faithful. Faithfulness can best be described as being so full of faith in a person or cause that you have an unyielding loyalty to them no matter what extenuating circumstances that may arise.
Faithfulness does not only apply to the marriage scenario, even though it is a very big part of it. Faithfulness is require in our faith as believers. In fact one of the qualities of God is everlasting faithfulness to all believers and to his word; and in return every believer is required to have faithfulness to God and in life generally.
What does faithfulness look like in the life of a believer?
Let us take a look at Stephen, a man the bible introduces as faithful or “full of faith”. We witness his faithfulness in how he never denied his christian faith even though he was facing a brutal and gruesome death. Stephen’s faith never shook instead it seemed to increase- if that was even possible. Stephen never once faltered when he stood before those who would sentence him to death- in fact he was described as having a face that was so bright it shone like an angel’s. Stephen never stopped sharing the gospel to those who were around him even when they were gnashing their teeth at him and pulling his beard; he just kept professing the good news. If we look at things logically, it is at this point that many would have denounced their faith and understandably so. Some may even say that Stephen could have easily helped his case by simply shutting up. He could have tried to look sorry and tried to hide any obvious joy in his countenance.
One has to wonder how and why Stephen could stay loyal in that situation. Even though most of us may not have to be faithful to the point that Stephen had to; however faithfulness is required from every believer even to the point of martyrdom.
In any case, it is already near impossible for many to stay emotionally and physically faithful to the most important people in their lives. How is it that Stephen could stay faithful to God who he couldn’t physically see when many are finding it near impossible to stay faithful to those they can see? The difference is that Stephen had the fruit of faithfulness. This fruit is available, like the other fruit of the spirit, to any believer who is willing and submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Towards the end of Stephen’s story the bible confirms that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. Is it a coincidence that Stephen was full of the Spirit as well as full of faith? No it definitely isn’t.
Reading through the bible we can see that many of the apostles, not just Stephen, were martyred for their faith. It is also not by coincidence that many of them were described as full of the Holy Spirit- Barnabas, Peter, Paul and the list goes on.
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. It is impossible to be faithful to God and/or life if you are not submitted to the Holy Spirit. Bottomline is this, a person who cannot be faithful to their marriage, job, family and most importantly God is not submitted to the Holy Spirit. It goes without saying that the Holy Spirit must produce true and lasting faithfulness in all of us. If you are a husband or wife that is dealing with an unfaithful spouse, you need to understand first and foremost that your spouse (and possibly yourself) are not submitted to or full of the Holy Spirit. In other words you can never be faithful to God or anyone if you have not let the Holy Spirit work out faithfulness in you.
It is important to also say that though everyone has a little measure of faith that they may exhibit from time to time; only those who are full of the Spirit have a full measure of faith. Only those who are full of faith can stand for God no matter what.
Acts 6:8 “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”
Hebrew 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrew 3:14 “For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
Temitope Talabi is a founding member of The Trent Voices currently reside in Austin, TX. She graduated with a PharmD from Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. She works as a community pharmacist and spends her spare time writing to build and encourage others through the word of God. Temitope is also currently working on a series of self-help books created to empower people to take charge of their health and wellness, the first of which is scheduled to be released early next year.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.