Fruit of the Spirit: 7. Faith

Being more faithful to both God and people. Faith is the seventh named Fruit of the Spirit

Scripture says that Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), but what does this mean to us on a daily or even hourly basis?

Firstly, and most importantly, it is linked to hope, and we need hope more than anything else on this earth. Without hope, we shrivel up and die the death of a depressed mind and heart. When we lose hope, our hearts sink to depths previously unknown to us. The spirit, which hope revives, deflates within us.

Hope is the air pumped into our spirit that inflates us and keeps us floating above the surface, allowing us to sail across life’s ocean. When that air leaks out, that is, when our hope wanes, we begin to sink. It is at this time we need to quickly pump hope in, thus aerating our spirit, before we sink, as many people have experienced.

Buoyancy, or hope, is a basic necessity of life. Yet, on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs it doesn’t even rate a mention. I would suggest it is at the very base of the pyramid, supporting the construction of everything else we need and do in life.

Without it, given the right moment, we will not even attempt to do anything else, even keep ourselves alive.

We are now seeing how important Faith is to us. Faith is said to be the substance, or the tangible, in the intangibility of hope. Faith is the pump that keeps hope pumping in, and preserves us from deflating. We need to keep that pump in a fit-for-purpose condition all our lives.

Every pump requires maintenance and repairs, even our faith-pump, and maintenance and repairs for the faith-pump all comes from one thing.

Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

That all-critical maintenance is hearing the word of God and applying it as we read or listen to it. We apply it to our behaviours, which encompass our belief. The more we read, believe and do (because true belief triggers an action), the more our faith pumps hope into us. This, in turn, injects a more positive spiritual outlook and a greater change in our countenance, which converts to a stronger and more objective vision, and, subliminally, more coals on our fire of zealousness to follow Christ and live in the Lord.

Faith is likened to any subject we might learn at school: the benefits of which becomes more tangible and less uninteresting the more we study it and learn the true power of that subject.

Many who left school early have confided that they regret it; because, even later in life they struggle to grasp some elements that would have created passion for it, and opened doors for them into the world of education.

Likewise, we will regret it if we do not spend time in the Word of God, and have our faith grown as we go through it, believing as we learn. How else do we behold spiritual door after spiritual door opening unto us?

I Cor 4.2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”   We are the stewards of everything given to us. Everything!  Including our faith.

Our ‘faith-pump’ should not be starting and stopping depending on our emotions. All this does is high/low our hope and turn God into a pocket statue we pull out when needed or cast away when we don’t get what we want.  When we do that, we are in danger of falling into the category of ‘Laodicean’, who were lukewarm and spewed out of the Lord’s mouth.

As we keep adding a bit of cold then hot then cold then hot, all we ever end up with is lukewarm faith. It never gets permanently hotter.  If we are going to read the bible without allowing our faith to be strengthened, we may as well read a novel and have faith in that writer. Because, that is what it boils down to, not having faith in the writer of the bible.

Let’s pause for a moment and think on hope. What are we hoping for? What do we want out of God that makes us put our intangible hope in him? And, more to the point, why do some lose hope in him?

Do we expect too much? I know situations can feel so desperate at times that our hope seems to be screaming, ‘help me’, within us.

However, hope is all about expectation. But we must look at what we expect out of having faith in God. How about truth, salvation, emotional intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, direction, great understanding, as well as changes in our character that can make us so holy and so compliant with God, that there is no law in Heaven against us? Is that enough?

Gal 5: 22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

We may desire this level, but can only obtain it through faith and belief in God’s every word being true, and following in the footsteps of his wonderful son, the only real saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The Table of FaithFirst    >Second   >Third   >ResultSpend lots of time in the Bible and prayer, believe what you read, and expect to change behaviours, beliefs and tendenciesBy default, your Faith-pump starts pumping more hopeBy default, again, Hope is inflated, keeping your spirit buoyant and sailing above the waves through life with a defined course, and less ‘down’ timeSweet fragrance for God and people.

Strong in hope, great in faith.

Unashamed of our decisions, because they have changed

Heb 11: 1-2 

  1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  2. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

The elders, the faith-ful we read about in the Bible who have gone before us, are the same as us, and obtained a good report from God — like a report card with some ‘A’s. Nothing is stopping us from getting similar reports.

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