What does it mean to cultivate faithfulness in our lives? Surely, since faithfulness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), it’s something every Christian should strive for. But how do we grow in this area, from a practical perspective? As a busy, often exhausted mom of many, I’ve often thought about this. Read on to learn more about what it means to cultivate faithfulness in our Christian walk.
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What Does Faithfulness Mean?
“Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” Psalm 37:3
I love Psalm 37:3. It has been one of my favorite verses to think upon and recite to myself when I need encouragement in the midst of busy mom life. It’s a “north star” kind of verse, keeping things in focus when it’s so easy to get discouraged or distracted by all the other things we could be doing.
When things get crazy or I feel doubt and uncertainty overwhelm me, Psalm 37:3 tells me what to do:
- Trust in the Lord – Submit to the Lord in all things, knowing He is not only faithful, but sovereign.
- Do good – act obediently, doing good for His glory through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, who helps us in our weakness.
- Dwell in the land – bloom where God has planted us, being good stewards of the responsibilities and opportunities He has given us in this season.
- Cultivate faithfulness – be intentional in nurturing faithfulness in our lives and enjoying the faithfulness of God.
Here’s what faithfulness looks like:
- reliable, steadfast, and never fickle
- trustworthy, keeping our word
- consistently devoted
- steady obedience to God
- self-disciplined for the purpose of godliness
- practicing what we preach
- living by faith
- even-keeled perseverance
- a focus that pushes past distractions
- diligently attending to the tasks God has given us
- Confidently trusting Him with the results
Most of us could point to at least a few items in that list as things we use more growth in.
The Bible tells us that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, given to those who have been saved in Christ. Faithfulness is also refined and matured in us over time through the process of sanctification. If we are walking consistently with God because we love Him, we are growing in faithfulness.
God teaches us about faithfulness in His Word and through His character. He also uses the trials and lessons of life to help us become more faithful. Scripture says that the Lord is working on us to shape us more and more into the likeness of Christ and will continue to do so until the day we are in heaven.
That “working” is the work of the Holy Spirit in us… it’s the important, blessed, and often painful process of sanctification.
Where Can We See Some Examples of Faithfulness?
While Christ is the ultimate example of faithfulness, there are many others in Scripture we can consider as well. As you read through this list, think of the people in your own life you could point to as inspiration for cultivating faithfulness.
- Joseph – remained faithful to God and trusted God’s purposes and timing, even in the midst of great rejection, trials, and persecution.
- Daniel – Remained devoted to God and His ways in the face of great pressure to turn away from them.
- Esther – Remained loyal to God and her people. Acted in faithful obedience in spite of her fears and the dangers she faced.
- Ruth – Was faithful to her mother-in-law, Naomi and to God’s people, eventually becoming the great-grandmother of King David.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – Chose faithfulness to God over their own lives, being thrown into the fire furnace for standing firm in their faith. The Lord saved them from the flames.
- John the Baptist – Remained faithful to the mission God had given him in spite of trials and imprisonment, being used to prepare the way for Jesus.
- Paul – A faithful and passionate apostle for Christ, preaching the gospel far and wide and building up the churches in spite of great persecution, trials, and even conflict amongst believers.
- George Muller – A Christian missionary who founded orphanages in England during the 19th century. He was known for his faithfulness to God, as he relied solely on God to provide for the needs of the orphans under his care.
- Jim Elliot – A missionary killed while trying to reach the Huaorani people of Ecuador with the gospel. He was willing to give up his life in order to try and share the love of Christ with those who had never heard of him.
- David Livingstone – A Scottish explorer and medical missionary who did much to spread Christianity in Africa during the 19th century. He spent his life trying to spread the gospel in a land that was often hostile to outsiders.
- Grandma Ruth – My grandmother, who prayed for her children and grandchildren faithfully for so many years. God answered her prayers! In several instances, He answered them after she passed away. What a glorious reunion we will have in heaven one day!
- Beth and Dave – My friends Beth and Dave are each in their own way the most faithful and true friends I have ever had. I want to be a friend to others like they have been friends to me!
- My Parents – They have always been faithful in love and support, even during younger years when I made that extremely difficult for them.
- Danika – My friend Danika has great self-discipline and faithfulness to stay focused on what God has called her to do, pushing aside any distractions that may come, whether internal or external. She often comes to mind when I think of growing in faithfulness.
Who is on YOUR list of examples of faithfulness? Be inspired by what you see in them, and ask the Lord for the grace to cultivate faithfulness in yourself.
What I’m Doing to Cultivate Faithfulness This Year
This idea of cultivating faithfulness has been important to me ever since I became a Christian in my mid-20s. Likely, it’s because I was the opposite of faithful in many ways until He saved me. (Just ask anyone who has known me both before and after becoming a Christian!)
He has changed my heart and mind so much, but I still have a long way to go in cultivating faithfulness. The Lord has definitely been using challenging circumstances to show me that I have more work to do in this area. And I want nothing more than to please Him! What Christ-follower doesn’t long to hear these words:
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” (From Matthew 25:23)
There are three “cultivating faithfulness” areas I have been praying about and want to focus on in the coming year.
1. Educating and discipling my children. Of course, I’ve been doing this all along. My oldest has started homeschool high school and my youngest is now 6. Time is moving so fast! I have a new sense of urgency about making sure these important assignments are a priority for my time, energy, and attention. We all know how limited those things are and how easy it is to get distracted!
2. Trusting God in the midst of challenging circumstances. These last few years have been extremely challenging for me personally, for various reasons. Sanctification is often painful. 🙂 Anchoring into Christ and cultivating faithfulness have become my life themes, it seems, and they continue to be my focus! It is good but hard work to continually surrender our plans to the Lord and keep our focus on Him. But even that isn’t by our own efforts! God is faithful to give us the strength and wisdom we need when we seek Him with all our hearts.
3. Being faithfully consistent in areas where I am accountable only to God. In most things, I’m pretty reliable. But I know well the areas where I tend to abandon my promises and plans because there isn’t direct accountability in place to finish them faithfully. Specifically, I would like continue to grow in faithfulness in my personal devotional life, in being a good steward of my time, and in completing business projects I’ve already started.
Feeding on the Faithfulness of God
I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about what it means to “cultivate faithfulness.” What does that actually look like in real life? I know for sure I can’t just drum up faithfulness by my own efforts. So what do I do?
Recently I came across this insightful and encouraging article by Jon Bloom at Desiring God. The entire article is worth reading. The part I found particularly helpful was how he looked at the phrase “cultivate faithfulness” from Psalm 37:3 in various translations. Here is his conclusion (emphasis mine):
“Perhaps we’d get closest to what David meant if we could somehow infuse the NASB’s “cultivate” with the NKJV’s “feed,” such that we’d come away with a sense of “diligently cultivate [by grazing on] the virtue of faithfulness” (Keil & Delitzsch, 5:283).
But “cultivate,” “feed on,” and “befriend” all give us some sense of what David wants us to do: devote ourselves to developing faithfulness until it becomes part of us.”
I LOVE the idea of feeding on the faithfulness of God as a way to cultivate faithfulness in us. Here are some ways I came up with to do that on a practical level:
- Study what Scripture says about God’s faithfulness (word studies, Bible studies, etc.)
- Notice, dwell on, and record evidence of God’s faithfulness (starting with our Yahweh Yireh box and continuing in 2023 in my personal commonplace book)
- Pray through verses about faithfulness as I write them out, using the Scripture writing calendar here. The idea is to praise God for His faithfulness, pray for personal growth in this character trait, and pray for opportunities to faithfully serve others for His glory.
- Worshiping God for His faithfulness. I’m going to set up a playlist of hymns and worship songs about this topic and make it a part of my life this year.
- Set up accountability where I need it, even if just for a time, for my business, devotional life, and parenting. I’ve already reached out to some individuals about that.
The Lord is faithful in all things, and He helps us grow in faithfulness too through the fruit of the Spirit and His ongoing work in our lives. Take some time to pray about how God might be calling you to grow in faithfulness as well. In what areas do you need to trust Him more? In what areas can you develop steadiness and consistency? How can you better reflect His character of faithfulness in your everyday life?
We an only do it by His grace, friends. Praying that we all grow in faithfulness this year, for His glory alone. ❤️