I believe that each day God is shaping, molding, perfecting all of us in some way and most of the time while He does this, we are completely unaware…
And then there are other times that He simply smacks us across the face with what He has for us.
Let me back up because I am going to be talking about God’s goodness and saying He smacks us across the face doesn’t really sound like something good. I think maybe a better way to say this is that He opens our eyes so that we might see all the truly great plans and desires he has for us.
When I started my research on the topic of goodness, God pointed me to this quote: “When we strive to be ‘good’ only for our own benefit, it is not truly goodness that we possess. In Greek, the word goodness, ‘agathosune,’ means ‘an uprightness of heart and life’ (Thayer & Strong, 1995).”
This was the smack that I needed and I could see that God was working on my own heart.
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul writes, “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.”
I think we too quickly overlook the importance of goodness in this verse. After all, the important ones are love, joy, and peace--that’s what everyone wants. However, goodness goes further and is something I realized is so important to becoming more Christ-like.
I cannot support this next thought with any biblical text, but I believe that if we do not seek out goodness, we cannot really be filled with the other gifts. Goodness is a selfless act that we need to do over and over again if we want to truly have a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior. Remember that Jesus was called the “good shepherd” because he was willing to go to the cross and pay a price that none of us could ever afford. He laid down his life for each and every one of us so that we might have a relationship with him. How good is that!
So, how can we be good? It is really simple, but I feel we over complicate it. To me it is simply living a self-less, humble life putting others before myself. It is taking the time to do what is right and to serve those around us in little and sometimes big ways. I believe one of the biggest attacks on being good that the devil uses today is that he convinces us we are too busy to do all these things. A pastor friend of mine once told me that “busy” is an acronym, which stands for “Being Under Satan’s Yoke.” When we say that we are too busy to help others, that isn’t showing the goodness that God wants from us. In those situations, Satan wins and we lose.
The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of what I believe God wants from us in showing goodness.
“In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denariic and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”
Being filled with the Spirit of goodness goes beyond what makes us feel comfortable at times. It means going out of our way, taking time to help others, not caring what people might think. To me it goes above even all those things to mean we will do what is right at any cost and never think twice about it.
The Good Samaritan could have passed by this person just like the others did. He might have said to himself “I am already late for work,” or “I am behind in my board presentation,” “I am missing my son’s baseball game,” “My favorite TV show is coming on soon.” He could have come up with countless excuses; some might have even been quite valid, but being good is following the Spirit’s lead at all times.
I challenge each of you reading this, go out and serve those around you, but never for your own glory. We are here for one purpose and that is to bring glory to God our Father. So, whether it is taking the time to listen to a friend or a stranger because they just need someone who cares, or running into a burning house to save a life, practice goodness daily. Be filled with the Spirit and the Spirit will lead you to do what is good, you only need to be willing and offer no excuses. This in turn will bring you into a closer relationship with Jesus and that is what it is all about.