Galatians 5:22-23; Ro 12:21; Mt 25:31-46; Ep 2:10; Mt 5:16; Various
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - Goodness
Once again I want to welcome you to our nightly Bible devotional. I hope you have had a great day. It has been chilly and wet here. But we can always find something to praise the Lord about.
Our studies this week have been about the fruit of the Spirit which is found in Galatians 5:22-23. Each slices of the spiritual fruit is a part of what we as Christians should be producing as we stay in step with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps us produce each aspect which include of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We talked about how each person needs to work on all the aspects or slices of the spiritual fruit because they build on each other. As we walk in step with the Spirit we produce desired results God has for us.
We’ve talked about the first five: love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Five down, four to go. Tonight we are going to look at goodness. Now I often here people talk about what is the difference between goodness, kindness and even gentleness. All these are aspects of how we treat others. And there are some real differences here that we need to look at. We’ll tackle gentleness later on. We already talked about kindness last night. So let’s talk about goodness.
Isn’t goodness just being good? Well yes. Growing up, we were often told to “be good.” Maybe this looked like helping your mom with the household chores or getting good grades in school.
But there are a differences in how people count what is good. Some people think they will earn eternal life in heaven if they are a good person and help others. But that’s not how the Bible looks at it. In fact, Romans 6:23 states that we have all fallen short of the mark of God’s standard of goodness. This is called sin. And no matter what some people say sin is anything that falls below God’s standard. You see, it’s not our standards that make up what is “good” or what is “sin”. God alone determines this because he alone is good (Ex 34:6; 1 Ch 16:4; Ps 25:8; 34:8; 100:4-5;107:8-9; 145:9; Nahum 1:7; Mk 10:18).
It is only as the Holy Spirit works in our lives, our character is transformed. His standard of goodness becomes our standard of goodness. As this transformation takes place our human nature, once controlled by sin, begins to reflect character of God which allows us to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
Goodness is action; it’s not something we do only for the sake of being virtuous… pleasing our parents, teachers, preacher, or our boss. When we strive to be “good” only for our own benefit, it is not truly goodness that we possess. And working to be good by our own virtue often leads to failure.
The Greek word used in Galatians 5:22 for goodness is ἀγαθωσύνη- agathosune (ag-ath-o-soo'-nay)
which literally means inherently good. It is a quality of goodness that is “an uprightness of heart and life”. This word is used almost exclusively in the Bible and refers to a goodness that comes from God and shows itself as a spiritual, moral virtue in those who walk in step with the Spirit.
When we act out of true goodness of the heart, we are obedient to God’s commandments and seek the benefit of others. Our actions come from a place of selflessness, and we place the needs of others before our own.
The life of Jesus Christ is the perfect example of goodness. His ministry was filled with acts of compassion and goodness. Even in his death on the cross he demonstrated his goodness by dying in our place for our sins in order to give us the gift of eternal life. Both His ministry and His sacrifice is an example of God’s goodness toward mankind. After all, the term “gospel” means “good news.”
Peter, a disciple of Jesus, talks about the goodness of Jesus’ ministry in Acts 10:37-38: “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
Jesus is called the “good shepherd” in John 10, because He laid down His life for His sheep. As Christians we are suppose to live in a manner that reflects Jesus’ character of goodness. Jesus pointe this out in the sermon on the mount when he says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)
Goodness is not about doing something that is going to get you noticed. It points to our Lord and glorifies him. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Where kindness is marked by what we do for others, Goodness is marked by what we do for God to reflect his glory.
Goodness is doing something because it is the right thing to do. Matthew 25:31-46 is a parable that Jesus told to his disciples about being ready and being faithful. In it, the sheep are rewarded for taking care of the needs of the master. They asked, “when did we do this?” and the master replied, “whatever you did for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it for me!”
It is in these acts of goodness that we reflect Christ’s character. While it may seem like no one notices, God does. Ultimately, when we show goodness, we bring glory to God’s name.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God Almighty, I praise you for your goodness. You alone are good. I want to be good but on my own merit I often fail. Help me to stay in step with your Holy Spirit that I may be a reflection of your goodness. I want others to see your goodness in me so they will be ready to hear the good news message of salvation. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. AMEN!
Let’s go produce some fruit. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” So go and be good by reflecting the goodness of our Lord today. I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm. God bless you and have a great night.