Bragging rights

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But the fruit of the Spirit is …
love,
joy,
peace,
patience,
kindness,
goodness,
faithfulness,
gentleness and
self-control.
Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

Remember, all these qualities we’ve been talking about are known as the fruit of the Spirit. They are not qualities to be added to our lives as much as they are evidence of the life that is already there. If you find that these qualities are foreign to you, then you would have cause to be concerned whether you have been born of the Spirit. Call them “signs” of the Spirit if you wish, that would be the sense of it.

This is what the Spirit of God looks like in our lives. These are the qualities that render you fruitful for the kingdom of God. If you can see these things at work in your life, then God is at work in you. So faithfulness would be just what it is — consistency of belief. Faithfulness would be God holding onto us while we hold onto Him. Faithfulness is what you can count on, and though you can’t always count on yourself or those around you, you can always count on God.

Without bragging, I’ve had numerous people tell me they have been encouraged by my faithfulness over the years. That’s just because I started out with a visible form of public ministry primarily through my music, and I’m sure some of the people in our Catch audience go back that far with me, so they can see that I’ve been faithful. Well they’ve been faithful, too, because here we all are, continuing to move forward in our faith, and your faith is just as confirming as mine. This faithfulness is really not to our credit, it is to the credit of the Lord, and the credibility of our faith itself to hold us.

People who jump from one set of belief systems to another are not necessarily unfaithful people as much as it says the faith or the belief system they have — whatever you call it — is not solid and true enough to last over the long haul. It may have had elements of truth, but it wasn’t the whole truth. The fact that we are still believing — still being driven by the same simple faith that we started with — says more about the truthfulness of what we believe than it does about us. As you know, we can’t really boast about anything except our Lord.

But it goes both ways. Once this faith has gotten a hold of you, you can’t let go.

I received an email a while back from a pastor who was recalling when he first heard me speak when he was a student at a Christian college and I had come to minister on his campus. My talks those many years ago had had a profound effect on his faith. He had gone on to join the ministry, and now he was inviting me to come to his church and speak to his congregation. And then he wrote something I have never forgotten. He wrote that he wanted to share me with his congregation — true — but even more than that, he wanted me to know that he’d been faithful.

Who’s faithful and who gets the credit? We are faithful, but God gets all the credit.

“As you wish,” He says, and we wish to hold on for dear life. We will never let go, because He never let’s go of us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness. Against such there is no law.

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6 Responses to Bragging rights

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Thx God 4 His faithfulness!

  2. Andrew P. says:

    In John 17, among the things that Jesus says is that those who were with him, his men whom we know as “the apostles,” had kept (or guarded) God’s word. That is very encouraging to me, because I’ve read the gospels, and those guys were clowns. (The apostles we see after the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit were dramatically different, but prior to that time, they weren’t the least impressive.)

    Arguing about who was the greatest. Envious and angry when James and John tried to get the best places in the Kingdom. Constantly misunderstanding the Lord. “You of little faith!” Like I said — clowns. Nothing the least impressive about them. And yet, Jesus says they have kept the word of God! What did they do? Well, they kept coming back to Jesus. They ran off from time to time, but they kept coming back. “Where would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

    So, there’s hope for the likes of us, also clowns, as well. As I said, I take great encouragement in that. Those with the stick-to-it-iveness to stay with Jesus, to keep coming back when we run away, to keep getting up when we fall flat — to keep on with the continual course corrections. THAT is faithfulness. THAT is evidence that God is at work in us.

  3. David Morgereth says:

    Hi John

    Yesterday, I attended a funeral at which our mutual friend Dane Lewis shared an illustration of a father and daughter crossing a bridge over a raging river. “Hold my hand” said the father. “No”, said the daughter, “YOU hold my hand”. “Aren’t they the same thing?”, asked the father. The daughter replied, “No… if I hold your hand, I might slip and let go. But if you hold my hand, I know you will never let go”. That is faithfulness.

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