Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-24)

In the English language, the word “faithfulness” evokes ideas of loyalty and devotion. A faithful hound is always at your side, and a faithful retainer is marked by loyalty. It’s all allegiance and commitment.

In Greek the word has a rather different flavour. Rather than a dogged commitment “faithfulness” is about being someone in whom other people can trust. You are reliable and committed, not swept along by whatever fad flits across the screen that particular day. It is, to quote the standard dictionary, “that which evokes trust and faith” or “the state of being someone in whom confidence can be placed”.

Steadfastness is an admirable quality, and to be one in whom others can place there trust is a rare gift. It requires saying what you really think, and having actions which match up to those thoughts. You would hope that no-one would approach you, not knowing quite what response to expect.

This all might sound rather dull, but in fact it speaks of an inner strength and a depth of convictions. The reliable person is one who has thought deeply about what he or she believes, and puts it all into practice. It is, in the end, a deeply attractive trait.

Of course, the person who exemplified faithfulness is Jesus himself. The cry of the New Testament is a call to place you trust in him, the one who beyond all others is worthy of trust. The core of Christianity is faith, placing your trust in God and realising your own limitations. If we are to be faithful people ourselves, we would be best advised to follow the Christ who is deeply faithful.

This is a fruit of the Spirit which gives deep and enduring foundations.


Is there an eternal measure of what is good? Well, yes. If we hold that God is both good and eternal, then goodness is to be found in his character, actions and teachings. To be good is to be upright, just and trustworthy. Christ taught, healed and gave up his life so that others might be reconciled to God. There is goodness. It is a generosity, and a willingness to self-sacrifice. It is an interest in the welfare of others. When it comes to deciding between good and evil, it is vital to do so using a standard which transcends culture and time. No wonder Jesus said: “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)


Self-control is the ability to restrain your emotions. To say no to impulses or desires as they begin to rise. It is putting your head in charge of your heart, and detecting your emotions. Are they legitimate, or something you’ll regret in ten minutes time? Is this really the best way to behave? Shouldn’t this temptation be resisted? It is a product of patience and an abiding joy in life. It is a quality of someone who is kind and good, who is trustworthy and doesn’t think too highly of themself.

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