Welcome to week seven of our Renew Your Mind Challenge! I am so glad you have joined us! In this 13-week challenge, I am sharing with you the single most life-changing truth I have personally discovered.
I will update the links below as I post them.
1. Back to the Beginning
2. Fix Your Mind
3. Accepting His Love
4. Love Into Joy
5. Joy Into Peace
6. Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness
9. Overcome Evil With Good
I used to be depressed, needy, easily offended, anxious, stressed – the list goes on. Now I am happy, fulfilled, and at peace. I discovered the answer at 29 years of age. The secret to happiness lies in your inner response to life: perceptions, intentions, feelings, thought patterns, beliefs. Come along with me and let your faith come alive to you in a new way – a way that will change everything. Each week, we will focus on one small yet powerful action we can take to change our inner life, and renew ourselves into the love of God.
Over the past several weeks, we have focused on allowing the fruits of the Spirit to grow in us naturally, as a response to the love of God living in our hearts. We dedicated entire weeks to the fruits of love, joy, and peace. These fruits set the tone of our inner world – our thought life, our feelings, our intentions, our beliefs. Finally, last week, we covered patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness, all of which flow out of love, joy and peace. These four fruits have more to do with our direct interactions with others. It is important that they are genuine responses, from a heart of love, joy, and peace, not just outward actions plastered over an impatient or unloving heart response.
We are nearing the end of the fruits of the Spirit. There are only two left: faithfulness and self-control. I believe there is a reason that these two are near the end, [faithfulness is third from the end] because they are only possible when the other fruits have become a pattern!
Today we will talk about faithfulness. Think with me for a moment about the word “faithful.” According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word “faithful: means:
“1. Steadfast in affection or allegiance…
2. Firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty…
3. Given with a strong assurance…
4. True to the facts, to a standard, or to an original…”
“Steadfast,” “firm in adherence,” “strong assurance,” “true,” are words used to describe “faithful.” Someone who is faithful is consistent, trusted, reliable, dependable in their actions.
In the context of the fruits of the Spirit, faithfulness follows almost all of the other fruits, because it takes time and practice to become faithful in them. Someone who is faithful is regularly patient, gentle, kind, joyful, etc. A faithful person is at the point in their spiritual growth where they are living “in the Spirit,” or in the love of God as a general rule, as a normal way of life.
It takes time, years in most cases, maybe even a lifetime for some, to get to this point. Our lives are about the growth process, so there is no reason to feel discouraged if we are not there. I promise you, none of us have arrived! No matter what level we are at in our spiritual growth, we can aim for faithfulness by practicing genuine heart responses of love to all people in all situations.
The more often we respond out of true, genuine love, the easier these responses will become for us. The harder it is for us to respond out of true, genuine, love to a particular person or situation, the greater our growth when we finally accomplish the correct response, especially when we begin to respond correctly to that situation again and again.
This week, let’s focus on faithfulness. Let’s try to be just a little more consistent than last week with genuine, heartfelt, loving, patient, joyful, kind, and gentle responses.
We all have good days and bad days. That’s just part of life. Sometimes we slip up and fall off the band-wagon. That’s OK. If we try to be just a little more faithful in our responses each week, before we know it we will look back and be amazed at how far we’ve come!
Week Seven Challenge: Be just a little more consistent than last week at dealing with heart responses. Take another week to really make genuine, loving heart responses of patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness a habit.