As our sin affects others, so does grace-filled obedience. I reap the benefits of others' faithfulness very day. Of seeds sown long ago. Lost in the drama sometimes, are the quiet faithful ones whose love of Christ is lived out daily in unspectacular ways. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit. And that actually is quite spectacular.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26
Not the hypocrites, with puffed out chests, doling out law and judgement from fists of pride. Or doing things for selfish gain. Yeah, I see them, too. But those who follow the most important commandments and lead by example day after day, year after year. They are Joshua, living "long obedience in the same direction" (credit to Kari Way, who led a heart-opening walk through that book).
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
They live disciplined lives in small things and large.
Not seeking attention or glory or possession.
Jesus' lordship is evident in watching these beauties over years and years. The tendency for comparison used to leave me in a pile of defeat. But, the gracious example so many of my friends have been has turned into hope. Hope of being a steady. Not just a quick and dirty dressing up in the guise of one.
The truly faithful, whom I thought I would surely scare away, have been the most enduring lovers. God's word is in their hearts and on their tongues. Truth comes from their lips with gentle kisses. All the small things that root faith deep slowly make for strength to grab a hold of in times of trouble.
They cry real tears.
They do not stir up strife.
Their words and actions line up.
When I'm ready to throw in the towel because I've not reached a place I think I should be already, I remember them. As with enduring friendship, so this faith is grown over years. Consistently choosing to honor God. Giving without noise or fanfare. Those I know will actually pray when asked. Who'll speak honestly about their hearts and struggles. Gossip doesn't leave their lips, not out of rules, but out of love. They are safe and we need safe.
Well done, good and faithful servants.
There is abundant grace for the prodigal and much of it comes from these priceless ones. Putting an arm around my shoulder to walk me home.
God, build me the faith of a steady with patience, one day at a time.
See also Rock Steady from #write31days