The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The saying is sure: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful-for He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
Yesterday we defined faith as having trust and belief in things we cannot fully see or fully comprehend. To be faithful means to be checked in. Today’s reflection will address what it means to be faithful to God, and what it means to be “checked in” with God.
I have never stopped believing in God. I’ve never tried another faith or belief system. But I have not always been faithful to God. I have not always been faithful in prayer, in making holy choices, in giving Him glory and thanksgiving, or in loving my neighbor. If we are honest with ourselves, we all fall short of these things at times, perhaps even regularly.
The good thing about the choice to be faithful is that it is a choice we can make at any time. Any day is a good day to pray, make good choices, give glory to God, or love your neighbor.
To be faithful means to do these things not only out of obligation or fear but out of desire. The turning point in the Christian life, I believe, is when we have a desire for these choices to pray, live a “holy” life, give glory to God and help our neighbor, and when this desire becomes a daily joy. There are some faithful people whose primary focus in life is the joyful practice of these things.
We have to learn to be faithful to God. We have to train our minds and our hearts so that they are consistently faithful. This takes time. It also requires encouragement from others. Our encouragers include our priest, perhaps our spiritual father (the priest to whom we offer confession, with whom we can discuss our sense of faithfulness), and our peers – our families and our friends – who lead us by example and who lead us through encouragement.
And being faithful is a daily choice – we have the opportunity at any time to not be faithful. Just like we have the opportunity at any time to be faithful. Faithful choices include daily prayers. Daily prayers include a set time for prayer each morning and small intervals of prayer throughout the day. Faithful choices include Godly decisions. Frequent prayer helps one stay faithful and make Godly decisions because prayer can put every decision under the umbrella of God and holiness. Faithful choices include glorifying God, and this is done through the faithful use of our talents. And faithful choices include showing love for our neighbor by serving our neighbor in a way that helps our neighbor. (Many times we try to serve our neighbor as we see fit, not necessarily in the way that helps our neighbor.)
Being faithful to God today begins with our desire to do so. So, as you begin your day, consciously bring to mind ways that you can be faithful to God on this particular day, with the specific people that you’ll interact with and the specific challenges you will face.
Lord, thank You for the gift of this day and the opportunities it will bring. Help me to stay faithful to You today through prayer, making Godly choices, glorifying You in all things and helping my neighbor. Show me the ways in which I can serve others today. Thank You for staying faithful to me. Help me to stay faithful to You. Amen.
Stay faithful to God today!
Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website!
Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
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