Hello, fall! Who else is excited for cooler weather, cozy flannels, nighttime bonfires and warm mugs full of apple cider?
God is good—all the time! That is what we believe as we walk through every season of life. Our prayer is that every person recognizes this truth, not only in their minds, but also in their hearts.
The past few months we have been running a series on the Fruits of the Spirit, taking a closer look at each one individually. Today, we want to focus on goodness—the goodness of our Father and the goodness that we get to live out in our interactions with others.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Let’s begin by defining goodness. The dictionary has many definitions for goodness including phrases like, “the state or quality of being good,” and “moral excellence or virtue.” Although these explanations are helpful on the surface, the real truth and hope about goodness comes when we define it according to God’s Word. Scripture is full of language that points to his goodness and faithfulness on earth.
Psalm 33:4-5 says, “For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.”
Since the beginning of Creation, God has designed the Earth reflect His goodness. This comes in His choice to give unmerited grace, life and love to us. All of creation thrives, seasons continue on, because He has set it into motion as an extension of His love for us. When He created the things of earth, he called them “good.” Jesus shows God’s goodness and care for creation when He reminds us that God knows even the days of sparrows. But, man is inherently rebellious. Because we could not embody God’s goodness without His covering, He gave Jesus. Now, we get to reflect His goodness in the ways we interact with the world and everyone in it. We get to choose what is GOOD and point others to Him.
So, why is there so much confusion and uncertainty about what it means to truly be good? There's a simple explanation: man's sin. Ever since the Garden of Eden, man has struggled to believe that what God commands is truly for our good and flourishing. We struggle to believe that God does not withhold any good thing from us. He instead protects our hearts from corruption and leads us to truth.
When sin entered into the world, Satan was given influence over the earth. He is the father of lies and a master of taking good gifts from God and perverting them for our destruction. Thankfully, we serve a God who is greater than "he who is in the world. " (1 John) and His goodness is unending.
The good news is that we have the truth! God has promised us that he won’t abandon us and that he will be with us in every step of our journeys to Heaven, both in the seen and the unseen. He’s also promised us the Holy Spirit to guide us and be with us. We have been left with commandments to love God and one another. (Does I’m Third ring a bell?)
True goodness means we are living our life for Christ because we want to thank Him for all that He’s done and bless those around us. As God made us in His image and lives in our hearts, when we love others in our actions or words, we spread His goodness.
What are some practical ways we can demonstrate goodness? Helping a friend in need, volunteering to mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn, sitting with the new kid at lunch, telling the truth when it’s difficult: these are all ways we demonstrate the good love of Christ.
Goodness is a true commitment to choosing right over wrong, good over evil. As the Bible tells us in Matthew 5:16, our good works point directly to our Father in Heaven. We are good because it glorifies our Creator.
Psalm 52:1 tells us that “the goodness of God endures continually.” This gives us hope that God’s true goodness will prevail. As you continue to move forward, show God’s goodness by showing to everyone you meet. He created us to dwell in His goodness!