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In the Old Testament, faith was displayed in a variety of people through their true commitment of themselves to God, and unwavering trust in His promises, and a persistent fidelity and obedience. Throughout the New Testament, though, we see not only incredible examples of faithfulness and faithlessness, but also see God’s clear definitions for us.
We can see that faith means more than mere hope, as in the original word ‘aman. This action word appears in the Old Testament more than 100 times and is likened to the action of a child learning to walk, holding on to its parents as it takes wobbly steps. Even with that descriptive definition, the Greek word for faith, pisteuō, is so much clearer in its definition. In Greek, the word places reliance upon Christ for salvation; by extension, the system of the Gospel truth itself.
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3 ESV
Strong’s H539 – ‘aman – faith: to support, confirm, be faithful
- to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in
- stand firm
- trust, believe
Strong’s G4100 – pisteuō – faith: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
- in a moral or religious reference
- used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
- to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith
- mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith
The faith found by those in the Old Testament is also forward looking. Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6) and that faith was that the Messiah would come. We see the prophecy of the type of Messiah Jesus would be in Isaiah 53. Paul also wrote a great deal about this forward looking faith, that it was not just for their benefit, but also for our own. We get to see the faithfulness of those who must believe it will be, while we believe that it was.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Romans 4:18-25 ESV
We can look back and identify the features that set apart those who walked in faith of the promise and see what makes up a Godly man or woman. We find the evidence of faith through the fruit of the Spirit being displayed through their actions and their behaviors.
We read that the Spirit brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We know that those called by God are His chosen ones, holy and beloved, have compassionate hearts, full of humility, meekness, and patience. They are full of forgiveness for others.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 ESV
We know of many faithful, godly men from throughout the Bible: Noah, Abraham, and David, to name a few. There are also many faithful, godly women found throughout the Bible that may be a little less known than their male counterparts.
We have just started looking into some of those women and have seen how Ruth and Esther were faithful and obedient to God. We have met the woman at the well and the woman with the issue of blood who stepped out in faith and sought after Jesus.
Know Them by Their Fruits
Being able to know and recognize the fruits of the Spirit is an important task that we all need to spend studious time in. These characteristics are the evidence of God in our lives. Our faith, the faith assured in the hope of Jesus, can change us from the inside out.
Paul speaks to us about love, the first listed fruits of the Spirit, giving us the definition of what love is according to God. The greatest of all commandments is to love the LORD your God will all your heart, with all your might, and with all your mind. The second is similar to the first, to love your neighbor as you do yourself. No man hates his own flesh, but rather nourishes and cherishes it, and so should we.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV
From stepping out in love, we receive the gift of joy from the Holy Spirit. This joy isn’t circumstantial, this joy sustains us through the highs and lows of life. This joy comes not from us, but from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
With that love comes a peace that surpasses human understanding. That peace gives us security in our hope of Christ. Through that peace comes freedom. Freedom from anxiety and worry, freedom from fears that come from insecurities about the future.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 ESV
Patience, the ability for longsuffering, is found while actively waiting for God. This waiting is not sitting still but rather serving God through time spent in the service of others or time spent in His Word. Patience is learning to wait on the LORD, to depend on Him for our needs, and to trust that He does and will supply all that we need.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11 ESV
Commitment, faithfulness, trusting, all these attributes point us towards the truth found in God. He is faithful, His words never come back empty. We can be fully confident that God, in His time, in His way, will bring about what is good and righteous for His namesake.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5 ESV
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:5 ESV
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5 ESV
Through our application of faith, we develop traits such as meekness and humility. In humility, we recognize the magnificent power of God and that there are real and direct consequences for disobedience. In our humility we learn to place others’ needs above our own and value those around us in a manner that mirrors God’s love for us.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2 ESV
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. Luke 1:52 NKJV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
Through faithfulness to God we learn to trust Him deeper, and apply these beautiful attributes of faithfulness to our lives and relationships, and enact change around us. We must put our faithfulness into action, letting the fruit of the spirit pour out of us into others, planting seeds that lead people closer to Christ. Sometimes our faith can be used to move mountains, sometimes to build bridges, sometimes to stand firm against the winds of change. Whatever seasons life brings with it, faithfulness can keep you centered and focused on the hope we have in Christ and His eternal promises.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:20-26 ESV
Sometimes seasons bring hardship, persecution, rejection and slander but true faithfulness is standing firm with the LORD and being unmoved by difficult circumstances. We can easily be swayed by the ebbs and flows of culture and life, but God stays true to His promises to provide, protect and lead us on His path to a better future we could never achieve on our own. Just like Esther becoming queen and being in a position to save an entire nation of Jewish people even at the expense of her own life, we never know when God has placed us right in the middle of a difficult situation for a greater purpose beyond ourselves.
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 ESV
Faithfulness to God comes down to – are you willing to be used by God no matter the personal expense; no matter how uncomfortable or even painful it may get? Are you willing to trust God even in the midst of the worst storm beyond what you could ever imagine and still say and believe that He is still good, and still in control? Beyond this, are you willing to do all these things and still bear God’s good fruit, displaying His Spirit, His love, and His truth? This is what defines true faithfulness, from both men and women alike.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 ESV
“…And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b ESV
Be willing to be used by God with an open, loving heart.