Goodness – Just doing what is right and good, as Jesus “… went about doing good”. God’s indwelling love will help us to sacrifice and do good even to those who are not good to us. It is enough to know that God saw and smiled. The opposite is a selfish, worldly, sinful, and retaliatory spirit.
“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:14)
Welcome to my sixth post on the Fruit of the Spirit – “Goodness”, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed meditating and studying about it.
Last month I studied Gentleness, or kindness — Goodness and kindness are closely related — You have to be kind in order to be considered a good person, and you usually do good works to others to be considered kind. They both are produced by God’s love, and our good deeds are to be done, not to be seen by others because then we have our reward, but to please our Heavenly Father — who sees what is done in secret and will one day reward us openly (Matthew 6:4,6,18). Goodness is also genuine, it is not fake, not manufactured, it is a result of being attached to the Vine – the Holy Spirit’s working in and through a person.
What is popular is not always good and what is good is not always popular.
We try to be good parents. We try to be kind to our kids. Meet their needs, and some of their wants. Sometimes we may see one of our kids going in a wrong direction. They may like it, it may seem pleasant and fun. But in our parental wisdom, we know it is not in their best interest. So we say, “NO!” Our child may think we’re being unkind by not letting them have what they want, but we know that it is the good and right thing for them.
God is good. We know that. At least I hope we know that. He is a good God. As a good God, He sees all and knows all, and knows what is best for us. He may see us going down a wrong path. We may like that path, it may seem pleasant to us, and fun! But God knows it is not profitable to us, so He says, “No!” We may think He’s being unkind by not giving us what we want, but actually He is being kind and good because He knows His good and perfect will for us, and He knows it is best! That is a good God!
See what I mean?
So, goodness is doing the right thing out of a genuinely Spirit-led desire to love God and love others — the two commands that Jesus said sum up ALL the law!
I often wonder what a “good Christian” looks like. I came to the conclusion that a good Christian will be the same regardless of time (200 years ago, 1,000 years ago, or 2,000 years ago), regardless of place (America, UK, China, Africa, or Papua New Guinea), and regardless of ethnicity or age. Because, “…the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart”(1 Samuel 16:7). What did Jesus say a true, good Christian should look like? Here’s a few things I came up with, I’m sure there’s much more:
1. A strong, dependent relationship on our Heavenly Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ: In Acts 11:23-26, the disciples were called “Christians” first in Antioch —because Barnabus had exhorted them to purpose in their heart that they would cleave unto the Lord. And, of course, because they had trusted in Christ as their Savior.
2. A hunger for God’s Word and a desire to read it and hear it preached often. (Matthew 5:6) To a true Christian, God’s Word is the source of all guidance and Truth. Through it, God speaks to His children. We should love to read and hear it taught.
3. Genuine love for fellow believers: In John 13:35, Jesus said that his disciples would be known because of their love for one another. This means not only the other Christians in our Church that we see every Sunday, but also other believers all over the world, whether or not they worship and act exactly the same as our version of Christianity.
4. Genuine compassion for unbelievers shown by a concern for their salvation. A true Christian will see unbelievers as Christ saw them, as “sheep not having a shepherd” (Mark 6:34), and then introduce them to The Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). We understand that without Christ they are not only oblivious to the Truth, but because of that, they are condemned to an eternity of torment in hell (John 3:18) unless we share the Truth with them.
5. A compassionate generosity towards the poor, needy and suffering. Dorcas, or Tabitha was a woman “full of good works and almsdeeds”, and her death brought such sorrow to those she had ministered to that Peter brought her back to life (Acts 9:36-42). Through her resurrection, many came to know Christ as Savior, I wonder if when I die there will be that many people that miss me! The early Church also appointed men to take care of the widows and fatherless, because it was of high importance (Acts 6:1-6, also James 1:27). Jesus said, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and by giving generously we give blessing, but we also receive abundant blessings and joy!
6. Lives for the most part under the control of the Holy Spirit. That means our tongues, our passions, our temper, our desires, our appetites are held in check by the Holy Spirit, and so we don’t get carried away(James 1:26). Notice that the indwelling Holy Spirit is vital to being a “good Christian”, and “goodness” is part of the fruit of the Spirit? It’s His power that enables us to do God’s will. We have come full circle then. You can’t fake it. Well, you can try, and some people may be fooled, but God isn’t. He knows that “good Christians” are those who humbly allow themselves to be vessels, or channels, that God can use to do His work.
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
“Channels only, Blessed Master, but with all they wondrous power Flowing through us, Thou canst use us Every day and ev’ry hour.” – Mary Maxwell