Fruit of the Spirit // FAITHFULNESS

by Jenny Stricklin

What do a runner’s marathon, a long and happy marriage and a rich relationship with Jesus have in common? You guessed it. Faithfulness. That stick-with-it-virtue.

Depending on where you are in your health or your marriage or your relationship with God, these things may feel out of reach. But in each scenario, isn’t it less about one revolutionary thing, and more about the cumulative effect of everyday, ordinary things that makes success possible?

BJ and I are coming up on our 15th wedding anniversary. A hard-won mile marker, to be sure. So to celebrate, we’ve decided to run a half marathon. I know, I know. Don’t most people go lay on a beach?

But here we are. And to be clear, we aren’t runners. The first few weeks were grueling and we’ve wanted to quit often. But we’ve managed to keep going. One run at a time. If we stick with it, we’ll be able to reach our 13 mile goal on time.

Here’s the thing. We all want to cross the finish line – whether in exercise or relationships or our spiritual walks. We see the value. But most of us have trouble starting and staying the course. Why is that?

Faithfulness is threatened by two things: FAILURE (not doing it perfectly) and FANTASY (thinking something else is better).

Missing a run makes me want to quit running altogether. So does chocolate cake.

We skip a few days of connecting with God and we feel like we should throw in the towel. OR we’re seduced by something else we believe will satisfy. And fleeting desire trumps faithful pursuit.

Culture would argue that faithfulness is legalistic, an affront to our authentic selves. Why should I make myself do something I don’t want to do? But the truth is, left to ourselves, we’d never choose Him. We’d be too busy drooling over chocolate cake.

So any time we take a step to follow Christ, any time we follow through on our commitment to Him, we can be sure it is the Spirit inside us enabling us to do so.

Faithfulness is keeping on by the power of the Spirit. Keeping on when we don’t do it perfectly. Keeping on when we can’t see progress. Keeping on when other loves try to pull us away. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Eyes on the prize.

And when we falter (we will), He remains faithful. (2 Tim. 2:13)

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