In the past few articles, I have discusses several attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit, that we would do well as Christians to adapt into our own spiritual lives. The next two on the list are "goodness" and "faithfulness." I'm sure that all of us know what it means to be a "good" person. However, in order for us to be faithful Christians, we have to do more than just be a "good" person.
In order for Christians to be pleasing unto God, we must have faith.. “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22). We show our faith in God by trusting Him to take care of us, no matter what happens to us in this life. We draw ourselves near unto God through our faith in Him. “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psalm 73:28)
Another way that we show our faith in God is being faithful to God. Being faithful to God mean that we are doing everything we can in this life to be obedient to His Commandments. As Christians, we are to examine our own spiritual lives and make sure that it lines up with God’s Word in the Bible. We are commanded to examine ourselves in II Corinthians 13:5. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
The word “reprobate” in this verse means “unapproved” by God. So, in order for us to remain faithful Christians from the point at which we are baptized to the point of our death, we have to take the time to think about how we conduct ourselves from day to day and determine if there is anything amiss in our lives.
To help you examine your spiritual standing with God, here are a few questions that may help. Ask yourself these questions to help determine if you are still living the life of a faithful Christian:
1. Are you keeping the greatest commandment which is to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind? (Matthew 22:37)
2. Is the Lord First in every list of your priorities? Does God come First with your money and time? “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
3. Have you been keeping the second greatest commandment, which is to love my neighbor as myself? (Matthew 22:39)
4. Have you been seeking to teach others? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19).
5. Am you growing as a Christian? “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” (II Peter 1:3-7). We should look to the 7 Christian Graces and working to grow in them every day. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8).
6. Have you not been forsaking the assembly of the church? “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:25).
7. Do you do personal devotionals to God? Do you pray without ceasing? (I Thessalonians 5:17)? Do you study the Bible every day (II Timothy 2:15)?
8. Do you keep yourself free from sin? “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (I John 3:9) To keep oneself from sin, you have to watch everything you say and do, and the outside sources that you expose yourself to. You also have to guard what your children say and do as well, so that they can grow up to be faithful Christians throughout their lives.
9. Are you guarding your thoughts? “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (II Corinthians 10:5).
10. Do you diligently resist the temptation to sin? “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2). Whenever we are tempted to sin, God will always provide a way for us to escape the temptation without committing sin. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13).
We need to be self-monitoring ourselves frequently to make sure that we are living the most authentic, faithful Christian lives possible. Of course, we cannot earn heaven, but we can do God’s Will everyday of our lives, and through His Good Grace and Mercy, receive Heaven as our reward! Any persecution and pain that we suffer in this life will be worth it in the end!