“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
When I began this series on the fruits of the spirit, it seemed like such a good idea. But now I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into. Goodness. What is goodness? These days no one wants to be told they are doing a “good” job. It’s almost like an insult. We all expect a more superlative adjective like wonderful, amazing, or fabulous. No one wants to be “just good”. So I began searching the scriptures to learn more about God’s goodness. How is it different from our concept of just ordinary good?
I came to one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. The rich young ruler asking Jesus, the Good Teacher, how to “inherit eternal life”. “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God.” Mark 10:18 That is a much narrower definition of “good” than our present-day connotation! So first we learn that only God is good.
God’s goodness created everything. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 Everything that God created, the entire earth, He called good, including us. So, second, we learn that God sees us, His creation in His image, as a good work.
Let’s look at the best example of God’s goodness. The birth of Jesus, His Son, our Savior. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14 God felt goodwill toward the people of earth even after sin had entered. He showered His goodness on us by authoring the one plan whereby we might regain our relationship with God, our Father. So finally we learn that God’s goodness is His perfect desire, and implementation of that desire, to do the very best for all of us.
Goodness, as a fruit of the spirit, is our desire (and our actions) to pass on God’s goodness to others. Our goodness can only be a pale reflection of God’s goodness, because only God is good. But if we strive to lead others to see God’s goodness, then our goodness lights the path. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalms 34:8 We all need to read and study His Word so that we may taste and see for ourselves the goodness of God.
I want to return for just a minute to the rich young ruler. The sad ending of the story is that the young man turned away from following Jesus because he could not give up his “great possessions”. He is not mentioned again. But after this interaction, Jesus says that “with God all things are possible”. Perhaps, later, with the goodness of God, and repentance, he did inherit eternal life…
This week, “taste and see” the goodness of the Lord for yourselves. You can write down some verses you find that show God’s goodness. I even made a list of all the ways God has shown His goodness in my life. And once you’ve experienced His goodness, reflect that light to others, so that all may know the goodness of God.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we continue our exploration of the fruits of the spirit! May God’s goodness surround you!