Normal. It’s probably been the most popular word of the last sixteen months. In the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the talk was about the “new normal.” Then, as the crazy year of 2020 continued, many started clamoring to “return to normal.” Now, all the talk is about how we are “finally getting back to normal.”
Don’t get me wrong; I’m pumped to return to sold-out concerts and (not-so-sold-out) Detroit Lions games. I’m excited to give handshakes and hugs again. And I am relieved to finally see faces in stores and at weekend services! But I also think that, in our quest to return to normal, we run the risk of missing what God wants to teach us—and the fruit he wants to produce in our lives during this season.
In last weekend’s message, Pastor Jud Wilhite asked, “How tragic would it be if we went back to normal without changing at all?” Later he said: “I don’t want to get back to normal; I want to get back to better.”
How do we “get back to better” spiritually? Should we try harder to do more good and be better people? Nope. If you’ve ever tried that (like I have), you know it doesn’t work. So instead, the way we “get back to better” is by living from God’s Spirit and allowing him to produce faithfulness in our lives.
What is faithfulness? Jud put it this way: “Faithfulness is often defined as faith—placing faith in God and others. In this instance, though, it appears to be a faith that allows others to rely on us. It’s not trust, but it’s trustworthiness—the solid dependability of those that keep their promises and finish their tasks.”
A faithful person is one who can be counted on and trusted. They are diligent, they complete what they start, and they always come through in critical situations. Who wouldn’t want to be a person of faithfulness?
No matter how much we might want to be a faithful person, the reality is we can only ever be faithful to the degree we understand and internalize how faithful Jesus first has been to us. He is the ultimate example of faithfulness. Jesus was a trustworthy friend and leader to his disciples. He could always be counted on in times of need. And in his greatest display of faithfulness, he dutifully carried out his mission: to die on a cross, take our sins upon himself, and defeat all our sins once and for all!
When we recognize how faithful Jesus has been to us, we can begin allowing the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of faithfulness in our lives.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
How would your life be different if you become more faithful?
How would our world be different if we all became more faithful?
Spend five minutes reflecting on how Jesus has been faithful throughout your life.
Identify one area of your life where God’s calling you to grow in faithfulness.
Pray, asking the Holy Spirit to continue to produce the fruit of faithfulness in your life.
Jesus, thank you for giving us the ultimate example of faithfulness when you died on the cross and took our sins. Please continue the good work you began within us so we can display your faithfulness to our world. Amen.
This post was written by David Hammack Jr., a first-time contributor to the LivingItOut.
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