Fruit of the Spirit
“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!”Psalm 40:10-11
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Does your classroom have a pet? If you don’t have one in your classroom, you might have one at home, or perhaps you grew up with a childhood pet. I wanted a dog so much that my sister and I spent years tirelessly nagging my parents, trying to convince them that we were responsible enough to have a dog. Eventually they caved, and we adopted our mutt, Molly. As a seven-year-old, I thought that I was pretty responsible. I said that I would completely take care of Molly. I would feed her, groom her, walk her, pick up after her, and love her all on my own. I’m sure you know how this story ends. I sure loved Molly, but I did not willingly take care of her as I had promised. Thankfully, my parents took care of Molly and set rules for me to do the same. Kids have a hard time living up to their promises—especially when chores are required.
One might assume that faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit means faith in Christ. Luther says in his lectures on Galatians that faithfulness means to be honest and devoted. It means that one man keeps faith with another in things that are relevant to this life. One is able to trust what other people say because they are true to their promises.
We tend to make promises before we even think about it. But our words become meaningless when we don’t take responsibility for our promises. When we fall through on our promises, we become troublesome and untrustworthy people. Likewise, we can’t trust others to follow through on their promises. If you were confirmed, you stood up in front of your pastor and the congregation and publicly proclaimed your faith. You promised to die rather than lose the faith. We often fail in our faithfulness to God. Instead of attending worship on Sunday morning, we would rather catch up on sleep. When money is tight, we want to hold on to every last penny instead of tithing our usual amount. We are weak when we have to follow through with these promises. Talk is easy, but action is hard.
God makes promises from the moment Adam and Eve sinned. He promised to send a Savior to redeem the world. Throughout the Scriptures, we read about God’s promises. His people doubt God’s power to act on the promises. Time after time, God shows His faithfulness in keeping His promises. All of Scripture points to Christ as God’s ultimate act of faithfulness. God kept His promise of sending a Savior to cover the sins of the world. Christ promises to be with us and be our help and deliverer. We know He will keep this promise because we have already seen His presence at His table. He is with us every day in our Baptism and inside of us as we eat and drink the bread and wine. Christ promised to prepare a place in heaven for us and take us home. We rejoice in His promise to return again because He has already kept His promise to be our Savior!