Fruitful time out with our Faithful God!
We lead such busy lives – slowing down and appreciating God’s faithfulness and our own response is a challenge we may not even have on our list. We may be more likely to take our list to the Lord in prayer – running short on praise, admiration, or deep connection with our faithful God. Today we will slow down, focus on him and his faithfulness and cultivate the fruit in our own lives.
Read Ephesians 5:19
What a wonderful way to begin!
Read Galatians 5:22,23 followed by singing or listening to the well-known hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm (1923)).
Remembering that faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit received in our baptism is essential, as we look to the faithfulness of God and examine – and cultivate – the fruit of faithfulness in our own lives.
Read Ephesians 5:1 and 1 Corinthians 11:1
We, like Paul, are to imitate Christ. We can look at Jesus’ whole life throughout the Gospels as his faithfulness to God, but here is a practical and familiar scripture as we consider what faithfulness means for us: Luke 22:42: Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
This has to be the ultimate in faithfulness to our Father God.
How willing are we to pray this prayer? What might the barriers to praying it be?
Whilst faithfulness is a “fruit” of the Spirit (perhaps we can easily reel oﬀ the list), the obligation to follow Jesus’ example, to imitate him, to model God’s faithfulness, is challenging and downright hard at times. It means giving over our will, our wants, our perceived needs – and praying your will be done.
Is that another line we can easily pray each week without letting the words sink in for reﬂection?
Meditating on small fragments of a passage or prayer can be helpful once we have prayed or read the whole.
Read aloud the words of our beginning hymn. Leave a pause between each line, allowing your mind to wander in God’s presence. If outside, look around for prompts of our creator God’s faithfulness, and join with all nature in “manifold witness”. (I have made some initial suggestions to help you begin.)
- Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
Father God, you are so faithful! I cannot begin to fathom it!
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
You are the same yesterday, today, forever! You never let me down!
as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided:
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
- Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest;
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
- Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
We have considered our faithfulness to God to seek and do his will as our primary response to his own faithfulness. Let’s go on and explore how the fruit of faithfulness will blossom and bloom (evidence and show) in other areas of our lives.
Our relationships with others:
What are the characteristics of a faithful person?
Read 1 Corinthians 4:2
Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the gifts and treasures he shares with you – and how you can share those with others inside and outside your home, church, and community.
Return to Galatians 5:22,23. Picture faithfulness with the other fruits intertwined on a vine, unable to be separated out. As we live out our faithfulness, so much other fruit will be involved.
Consider these other areas of our lives, reﬂecting on God’s faithfulness and our own:
Faithfulness in Temptation
The most perfect example of this is Jesus! Even the enemy knows Scripture – but Jesus knew it was being twisted and misquoted as was God’s Word at the Fall.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Contrast some examples of temptation and faithfulness/unfaithfulness in Scripture: (Ruth, Gomer [Hosea’s wife], David, Saul, the Israelites, Jonah, Nehemiah, or others that come to mind)
Do we look at the failures and think “that will never be me”? How will we ensure that it is not?
David was a great King.
The Israelites saw miracles right in front of their eyes.
Solomon was given a special gift of wisdom from the Lord.
Faithfulness in Trials
Here is a small selection of Scripture that we can use for encouragement during a time of trial:
Share (or remember) a time of trial in the past where you experienced God’s faithfulness. You may have been aware of it as you went through the trial, or you may have reﬂected on it later.
How can you use this experience in the future in your own faith walk?
We now come full circle, back to the goodness of God, and his faithfulness to us. We can see it in the world around us, when we look, focusing on him with whatever helps us. It may be a cross, a space in nature, a song or psalm. Remembering the goodness of God and his faithfulness to us in our own lives as well as the faithfulness we see throughout Scripture are essential “plant food” as we nurture our Spiritual fruit.
How can you bring thankfulness and gratitude into your daily appreciation and worship of the Lord for his faithfulness?
It is time for some essential weeding!
Spend some time in private confession, dealing with anything that has come up for you, where you’ve noted you fall short.
God’s faithfulness to you is unconditional. His mercies are new every morning!