Fruitful Day 11 Cultivating Fruitfulness
Read His Words Before Ours!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
2 Timothy 2:11-13
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit requiring time to grow.
Therefore, in a fast-paced world seeking instant gratification, it is sometimes underrated.
Faithfulness may not be glamorous, exciting, or fashionable, but it’s a fruit with richness and depth making it well worth the effort of cultivating.
Like every fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness begins with God. It is a key attribute of His character, woven through every page of Scripture; His faithfulness is unchangeable. Paul writes, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
This is a relief! Firstly, because in a rapidly-changing world, it is comforting to know God is constant, but secondly because we don’t need to look far in Scripture (or the world around us) to see the unfaithfulness of humanity. The whole of the Old Testament is a story of God’s faithfulness despite His people’s failure and disobedience.
We see this on multiple occasions as the Israelites journey to the Promised Land. Despite God’s repeated promise they would receive the land, and although He’d already demonstrated His power and love by rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness is marked with their faithlessness. The result was complaining, lack of trust, disobedience, and even idol worship.
Consider how the Israelites waited at the edge of the Promised Land for 12 spies to bring back a survey report. (Numbers 13) Overwhelmed by the ferocity of the land’s residents, the Israelites doubt their ability to conquer it. Their focus on challenges, instead of God’s power and faithfulness caused fear to infect the majority of Israelites resulting in a refusal to enter the land.
Amazingly, God doesn’t give up on His people. There are consequences for their faithlessness, and they wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, but the Lord continues to go with them and guide them, showing His faithful commitment to them even in small details, “I led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes and the sandals on your feet did not wear out[.]”(Deuteronomy 29:5)
When they finally arrived in the land, the challenges continued, but through the ups and downs of their circumstances, God’s faithfulness remained constant.
“None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed.
Everything was fulfilled.” (Joshua 21:45)
Amid the Israelites’ unfaithfulness, two men stand out as shining examples of faithfulness. Caleb & Joshua
They were two of the twelve spies who explored the land, but, unlike the others, Joshua and Caleb remained confident of God’s presence and power to enable them to conquer the land. s willing to stand against the crowd.
Their courage to stand against the crowd nearly resulted in death by stoning as their fellow Israelites were unwilling to listen or follow in faith. (Numbers 14:10) Caleb and Joshua were left with no choice but to join the rest of their nation as they turned around and began their journey away from the Promised Land.
It must have been incredibly frustrating, but when we meet Caleb and Joshua again, 45 years later, we see they have remained faithful to God. The two men are just as sure of God’s faithfulness as they were all those years earlier.
“Here I (Caleb) am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then. Now give me this hill country the Lord promised me on that day[…] Perhaps the Lord will be with me and I will drive them out as the Lord promised.” (Joshua 14:10-12)
Their passion and determination are undiminished, and their faith in God is as strong as ever.
When I think of examples of faithfulness today, I think of Ian. In his mid-80s, much like Caleb, Ian is still actively involved in his church and community, and has a passion to share God’s Word with younger generations.
Until last year, he ran a club in a local school helping pupils explore the Bible, and each year he organised funding for them to go on a weekend away, then accompanied them on the trip. One year, when we were short on space, he even offered to sleep in a tent if necessary!
Ian will never be well-known, and he doesn’t seek any reward, but his life is one of quiet faithfulness to God. A few years ago, I had the privilege of attending a prayer meeting Ian participated in. This group had been meeting together once a month to pray . . . for over fifty years!
It is one of the most inspiring prayer meetings I have ever attended. There is something wonderful about hearing the prayers of people who have followed Jesus for decades, who have known His faithfulness through the ups and downs of life, and who in turn have faithfully committed themselves to Him.
So how do we cultivate a life of faithfulness?
One step at a time, one day at a time, as we seek God, hold to His faithfulness, and allow His Spirit to work within us.
There is no quick, easy way to grow this fruit,
but people like Joshua, Caleb, and Ian encourage me it’s worth it.
Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 remind us it’s possible
because of God’s faithful commitment to us.
“Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will do it.”
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Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Fruitful Week Three! Don’t miss out on the discussion below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!