By Auntie Em, Contributing Writer
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” ~ Galatians 5:22 NIV
As Christians, all of us have the Holy Spirit of Christ living in us and His power available to us. If we are fully surrendered to Him, there should be evidence of it, and one of the most obvious signs is the presence of the fruit of the Spirit. Last month, we talked about the fruit of GOODNESS being evident in our marriages. This month we’re looking at FAITHFULNESS.
The Spiritual Fruit of faithfulness in marriage seems like a no-brainer! Unfaithful spouses = ones that stray, or have affairs, right? Well, yes. But I think there’s more to being faithful than NOT having an affair! Let’s look at God’s faithfulness, which is part of God’s character, enmeshed with his love, mercy, and compassion:
It’s NEW every day. We don’t just “take our spouse for better or worse” one time, during the ceremony. We make that choice over and over again– when they are mean or lazy or spiteful and we think we’ve had enough– but we decide to forgive, work it out, and work on our marriage.
Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
It’s eternal. We aren’t just faithful for a while, as long as he has a good job, or she looks pretty. We make our commitments for life, and only God’s faithfulness enables us to be faithful!
Psalm 89:2 “I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
It has long-term consequences. A faithful marriage can produce generations of faithful descendants! I love that study comparing the descendants of the great colonial preacher Jonathan Edwards and an atheist of the same time period–
The atheist produced “310 who died as paupers, 150 were criminals, 7 were murderers, 100 were drunkards, and more than half of the women were prostitutes. His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollars [before inflation].” Of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards and his wife, there were 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States Senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one Vice-President of the United States, 80 public officials in other capacities, 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries. Jonathan Edwards’ descendants did not cost the state a penny. (THE DESCENDANTS OF AN ATHEIST – AND A CHRISTIAN! Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. December 22, 2002)
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
To be truly faithful, I must do more than NOT have a physical affair with another man. My mind and heart must be reserved for my husband only. Of course no flirting with men on Facebook or in real life. Of course no pornography. But also, no daydreaming about Hollywood hunks. No Pinterest boards of “eye candy.” No coveting our girlfriends’ romantic husbands. (They have their warts too, anyway!) And also, in the same way that anything we deem more important than God becomes an idol, we can be “unfaithful” when we give our job or anything else a higher place in our hearts than our spouses. Remember that if we give the enemy one little inch, he will take a mile.
I did a brief word study on God’s faithfulness, and over and over words like “eternal,” “compassion,” and “love,” came up in the same Scriptures. If I want to be Christlike– and I do– then I’ve got to CHOOSE to be a compassionate wife to a grumpy husband. I’ve got to CHOOSE to love him when he’s not loveable. And I’ve got to CHOOSE him over anyone or anything else. Fortunately,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)
We know that God’s will is for marriage to reflect His glory and be a representation of Christ and the Church– in other words, for spouses to demonstrate love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in their relationship– so we know that if we ask His help, He will grant it!
I found a really good resource for Scriptures about marriage: Marriage Missions: Scriptures and Quotes to Help You in Your Married Life. Dig a little deeper!