David M. Kowalke, Jr. | @hongkongkowalke | TRINICY.org
Photo by Mohan Nannapanemi
THE NINE-FLAVORED FRUIT DEVOTIONAL SERIES
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
THE FLAVOR CALLED “FAITHFULNESS”
We are unable, by human effort, to produce the character traits of godliness in our lives. Christians begin their relationship with God by faith in the person of Christ. It is also by faith in Him, and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, that the very traits of God are developed and made evident in the Christian’s life. Look at the list of the nine-flavors of the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22,23. If we try to mimic them, we will fail. Each flavor will be only a waxy, tasteless version of the succulent reality. They are a product of the Spirit, not of the flesh. If you try you will fail. If you trust, He will succeed!
It is when our lives have an attitude of devotion to God that He Himself produces in us the Fruit of the Spirit...the very actions that reflect the nature of God! The nine ‘flavors,’ or characteristics of this fruit include the ‘flavor’ Faithfulness. For the sake of illustration, let’s just say that the word “Wed-d-ding” is spelled with 3-Ds instead of two! To measure our understanding of, commitment to, and whether Spirit-produced Faithfulness is present in our lives, let’s look at it in “3-D”!
1st “D” - DEVOTED
It is God’s Faithfulness to us, as the Bride of Christ, which is the standard of Faithfulness we are to demonstrate. Though now retired from teaching high school, I have had the honor of officiating at the weddings of a number of my students, as well as two of our four children. The quaint phrase “‘til death do us part” has lost much of its emphasis on modern young hearts, filled with wide-eyed and fuzz-focused emotion! In order to punctuate and highlight the commitment and faithfulness the two lovers are expressing to one another, I often substitute the phrase, “until I die.” It is this kind of Faithfulness and loyalty that Devotion displays. Faithful Devotion until death. It might sound a bit strange to some, but many times I have looked at my wife while she was sleeping and have, with just a whisper, said to her, “I will never leave you or be unfaithful to you.” I know she believes it...I just like to hear myself say it!
2nd “D” - DEPENDABLE
This word is not very glamorous, but it is very practical. It’s like when your mother went shopping with you and picked out the plainest, ugliest shoes on the rack and said, “These are very sensible shoes!” The wedding that uses the phrase, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…” is taking the time to have the lovebirds make their union together a very practical one! “If I don’t feel like being the right person when you might be hard to live with, I will.” A significant part of that is being Faithful, no matter the circumstances. I have, more than once, had a husband say to me in the privacy of my office, “Pastor Dave, I don’t love her anymore!” My reply has been, “I understand. Then love her!” Dependability is not a feeling. It is being true to my word, unconditionally. God is Dependable. He is Faithful. His Word is good. He is always present and available and able. As we walk in and appropriate the power of the Spirit, so now we can bear the sweet Fruit that tastes like Faithfulness!
3rd “D” - DEDICATED
Have you ever been to a dedication ceremony? Perhaps of a building or a ship? My wife and I had a Dedication ceremony in our wedding where each of us took a candle and lit a different one together saying that we would, as one, Dedicate our two lives and our home to the Lord. Two former students of mine (Steven and Cynthia) had a Dedication ceremony in their wedding and the first thing they did, even before their first kiss as husband and wife, was to have communion together, remembering the Lord’s death for them. Then they washed each other's feet, Dedicating themselves to serve one another for the rest of their lives together! They then walked down the grass isle barefoot, smiling and with a briskness in their step as they entered into their lives together! If we, just as those ceremonies symbolize, would Dedicate ourselves to glorifying God and enjoying Him forever, what a different world this would be!
We desire to be faithful to the Lord who is always faithful to us.
The Lord desired to be faithful to us, when we were not!
Father, how often I walk away from you, and you pursue me without fail. Your Devotion and Faithfulness knows no limit. Thank you for being one on whom I can always Depend, through the times of blessing, and distress. By your grace and with your power, I Dedicate myself to you anew, in gladness, Father, that you will never leave me nor forsake me. In the name of the One who is called “Faithful” and “True.” Amen.
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