Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness
Are we faithful?
by Helen Bryant (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore the idea of faithfulness.
Preparation and materials
- You will need two volunteers to demonstrate the trust exercise. Please remember your school’s health and safety guidelines.
- Optional: you may wish to ask a student to read the Bible passage about the fruits of the Spirit, which is found in Galatians 5.22-23, available at: https://tinyurl.com/jzsq5ay
- Invite the two pre-arranged volunteers to the front. Ask them to carry out the trust exercise where one of them falls back into the other’s arms, remembering to follow your school’s health and safety guidelines.
- Ask the students, ‘What have we seen here today?’
Point out that we can conclude that X (insert name) trusts Y (insert name) enough to catch him/her when s/he falls backwards.
- There is a passage in the Bible that speaks about the fruits of the Spirit.
Optional: invite a student to read Galatians 5.22-23: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
Let’s look at faithfulness, which means to be trustworthy, loyal or reliable. In the example, X had to trust Y enough to fall back into his/her arms without fear of being dropped. It means that X felt that Y was reliable enough to trust with his/her weight and safety for those few split seconds when s/he was falling through the air.
- Being trustworthy and reliable is an essential part of any relationship. If we think about the relationships that we have on a day-to-day basis with people, such as our parents and friends, those relationships are all built upon a foundation of trust and reliability. We have faith in that person that they will not let us down, that we can depend upon them and trust them to treat us fairly.
- Ask the students the following questions.
- Would people describe us as faithful?
- How many times have we shown the quality of faithfulness, maybe even without realizing it?
- Have we accepted a confidence from someone and kept their secret?
- Have we been pressed by another friend who wants the gossip about somebody, but refused to join in?
- Have we been trusted with a secret about a surprise present or party for someone and managed to keep that secret, even when it has been hard to do so?
- Some of us may be loyal to a particular football team or organization. We are loyal to them even when things go wrong. If our team finishes at the bottom of the league, we still support them!
- To have faithfulness is to display loyalty to someone and show that their friendship and trust in us matters. It is that loyalty and faithfulness with added trust that enables us to have friendships and to trust other people.
- Point out that sometimes, faithfulness can be rewarded in a relationship, although it should never be done for gain. It’s nice to get presents for being a good friend, but we shouldn’t expect them; our reward is hopefully that we get trustworthiness and loyalty in return.
- The opposite of faithfulness is unfaithfulness. All of us are fallible and we often get things wrong. When people are unfaithful, others get hurt and all sorts of bad things can happen.
There are many examples of unfaithfulness in the Bible: Judas is unfaithful and sends Jesus to his death, Peter denies ever knowing Jesus and the disciples are not at all reliable when Jesus asks them to stay awake for him while he is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- All of us have probably experienced unfaithfulness first-hand. Friends can hurt us and when someone breaks our trust, we feel betrayed, sad and disappointed.
Ask if any of the students have ever had parents or teachers say to them the words, ‘I am very disappointed with you.’
Many of us would have preferred it if they had shouted or screamed at us rather than saying that they were disappointed! We felt bad that we had let them down, broken their trust or had, in some way, been unfaithful to them.
- Unfaithfulness in marriage is forbidden in the Ten Commandments because of the hurt, damage and pain that it causes. There are, of course, varying degrees of unfaithfulness. Cheating in a test is not the same as cheating on your husband or wife, but there is still an action of breaking a trust, which will need to be worked on to be healed.
Time for reflection
Christians believe that God is faithful and can always be trusted. They believe that God has not let down humanity, even when it lets him down. They believe that God wants to help people to grow in faithfulness in their relationships, friendships and actions.
Let’s consider again the question we heard earlier: would people describe us as faithful?
Pause to allow time for thought.
Encourage the students to set out to be faithful people today.
Thank you for family and friends.
Thank you for people whom we can trust.
Please help us to be faithful in all our relationships.
Help us to stand up for our friends.
Help us not to join in gossip.
Help us to be trustworthy and reliable.
‘Never once’ by Matt Redman, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e02UNZRsdSQ
‘Lord of all hopefulness’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 313, 2008 edition)