#15.

True Fellowship Will be Characterized by Faithfulness
Galatians 5:22–23 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. What should we expect to see when true believers share fellowship in Christ? All the gifts He has given, and all the fruits His Spirit produces in them, will be at work as the church builds itself up in love. It is for this purpose that these things are given to the children of God! Faithfulness, then, will be much in evidence as a characteristic of true fellowship. But what does it mean? One text book describes the word in this manner: "the state of being someone in whom complete confidence can be placed—‘trustworthiness, dependability...." (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (376). New York: United Bible Societies.) By now it should almost go without saying that in manifesting the fruit of faithfulness we are being Christlike. Who is as dependable as He? Who can we count on to keep His Word in the way we can count on Him? Again, it is also obvious that this fruit will be hard to see in a believer who is isolated. If you are someone who can be completely trusted, there has to be someone who trusts in you or the fruit remains hidden. We live in a world where promises and commitments are easily made and more easily broken. The old creed of "a man's word is his bond" seems to belong to a quaint and very foreign era. Marriage vows are broken, church membership vows are broken, promises made to children go by the wayside, workmen are infamous for making appointments which they seldom keep. Sometimes it seems that the only thing we can count on in the world is that people will break their promises. Yet it should not be this way in the church, thanks to this fruit of faithfulness. If someone promises to pray for us, we should be able to have absolute certainty that they will. If someone lends us something, they should be able to do so with absolute confidence that we will care for it and will return it to them. What a difference this makes in our relationships! Have you experienced the joy that this dependability creates? This fruit brings a new dynamic into our relationships as believers. It is something that the world cannot replicate, but it means that fellowship should be something we long to experience more and more with our brothers and sisters.

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