Fruits of the Spirit: Goodness
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)
The term ‘good’ can be all encompassing. We say God is ‘good’ but when we break the word down, God’s goodness has so much more to it. He is Love, he is merciful he is forgiving.
We use ‘good’ as such a throw away term in today’s society; when I’m asked how I’m feeling or ‘how was it?’ without thought I just simply reply ‘yeah... it was good’. But what do I mean by that? What about when we compare our definition of ‘good’ to how the bible uses it? What does ‘good’ mean in the context or God and our faith? What does it mean to be good or to do goodness?
Often our interpretation of ‘goodness’ is on what makes us feel good. The world screams ‘if it feels good- do it’. We’re forgetting that goodness is a gift from God, and we see the product of it in our actions. Doing good is a result of a life characterized by actions that are motivated by the goodness and righteousness that God mercifully blesses us with. We should use goodness to be a blessing to those around us.
‘Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above.’ (James 1:17)
But this kind of goodness is not a quality we can manufacture on our own. As James 1 highlights, we are simply reflecting a goodness that comes from God. We need God’s help and to spend time knowing and appreciating His goodness in order to grow in the fruit of goodness and impact those around us.
The feeling of goodness we experience from doing ‘good’ comes from God because HE IS GOOD! In the same way that we are able to love because he first loved us, His goodness is a demonstration and example to us.
This can be seen in St Augustine’s prayer: ‘Lord … you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’. God is the source of all good things and we cannot have true spiritual goodness unless we look to God for it. Isn’t it great to see that even back in the day an old fella like Augustine was praying the same prayer we pray today!
Being God's children means that God knows what is best for us. He wants us to develop and demonstrate his goodness so we can be like him and reach out to those around us through His goodness. As shown in Hebrews 12:2 we should be looking to Jesus: 'the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’. Jesus himself took human form to be the perfect example for us so that we could understand and learn what goodness looks like.
How might this look in our everyday lives?
Sometimes I find it useful to stop and ask myself questions before I act (this doesn’t always happen, but it's a habit I wish to try harder with!):
- Is the good that I do based on God’s standards in the bible or society’s standards?
- What is the motive of my ‘goodness’? Is it a true goodness of the heart or is it motivated by appearing to be good to others?
- Would God consider what I am about to watch, say, think or do ‘good’?
Through prayer I try to differentiate between the goodness that comes from God and other forms of so called ‘goodness’ around us. (Not always easy I will admit!)
I pray that over this series the promises that God promises all of us that of ‘fruitfulness’: ‘which yields its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither, whatever he does prospers.’ Psalm 1:3
I’m Elphie, and I have just graduated from studying Sports Sciences at Durham University. I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years at Durham getting involved in as many things as I can from sports teams to bar committee and helping out with Kings Church toddler group on a Wednesday morning. I will be extremely sad to leave this beautiful city but very excited for the plans, adventures and purposes God has lying in store for me.