Spirit-filled Fruit Baskets – Day 22

Introduction

Yesterday we talked about the goodness of God.  Today, we are going to talk about goodness in our own lives.

Wait…

I thought there were none good…

Absolutely.

Let’s talk about it.

Focus

There is no greater testimony for the Christian than to exhibit behavior in their lives that is absolutely unexplainable except for the grace of God.

Goodness is one of those behaviors.

It is true that there are people, even unsaved people, who exhibit goodness to an extent.

Being filled with the goodness that comes from God is something completely different, and I think the Bible makes that clear.

The world has a form of goodness.  People are often good to the people who are good to them in return.  We can be good to those we view as innocent and in need.  We are often good because of the good feeling we get when we do good things.  Much of this goodness…if not all of it, is self-centered. We are being good for our own benefit.

Now…God is good to those who love Him.  That goes without saying.

What makes the goodness of God so incredible is the extent of his goodness toward those who neglect him, reject him, even despise him.

A simple social media experiment in the last week showed me that, at least online, people are clearly stating that they will be good to people who are good to them, and the rest?  Forget it.

This is not Spirit-filled goodness.

Let’s look at some Scripture verses.

Romans 15:14  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.

Ephesians 5:9  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Paul spoke of the radical change in goodness in the lives of many of these Christians.

Why was it so radical?  Let’s look at Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

This was the prevailing wisdom of the day.  Not so different from today is it?  Jesus was saying, you know what everyone says.  This is how it’s done according to everying.  Well…

Matthew 5:44-45 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

This is the new way of doing things.  This is the God way.  This is the Spirit-filled fruit that must come from somewhere other than the prevailing wisdom of society.

Doing good to those who hate you?  What possible benefit is there to me in that!  I don’t want to do good to them!  Even if I don’t want to hurt them, I don’t necessarily want to do good to them.

Ah…but that is what your Father in heaven does, and that is what He would have us do as well.  Why?

Matthew 5:46-48 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

This is why.  The goodness that comes from God is set apart from the rest of the world.  It goes beyond what everyone else does.  It is not a selfish goodness, it is a Spirit-filled goodness.

Well I don’t know about you…but this thought challenges me.  If I am only doing good to those I like, or those who like me, or those who can do something for me, then am I really living with the fruit of goodness in my life?

Heavenly Father, it is so easy to extend goodness to those around me who are my friends.  Sometimes I may fool myself into thinking that doing this makes me a good Christian.  Father, you show goodness even to those who hate and despise you.  I confess that this attribute is often absent in my own life.  Help me, Lord, to be filled with the fruit of goodness by your Holy Spirit today.  In Jesus name, amen.

Spirit-Filled Fruit Baskets – Day 21

Introduction

Today we are going to go back and discuss one of the fruit we skipped when dealing with meekness and gentleness.  It is the fruit of goodness.  Goodness as defined in Galatians 5:22 means virtue; beneficence.

We will look at the subject from this viewpoint.

Focus

There are many verses in the Bible which boast of the goodness of God.  They call upon us to praise the Lord for being our benefactor.  Here are just a few:

Psalms 23:6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalms 25:7  Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness‘ sake, O LORD.

Psalms 31:19  Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; whichthou hast wrought for them that trust in thee

Psalms 107:8  Oh that men would praise the LORD forhis goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 107:9  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

In fact, I encourage you to read and meditate on Psalms 107 this weekend.  It is a wonderful psalm of praise about the goodness of God.

God is our benefactor.  Do you believe that?  Every good thing comes from him.  Even our very breath is a gift from God.

The psalmist says that God daily loadeth us with benefits.  Everything we have is a from him. Everything I have is due to his goodness.

He is a merciful and gracious benefactor.  Everything we need is supplied.  The songwriter says it this way…

All I have needed thy hand hath provided…Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

Did you know that the goodness of God does not just extend to the saved?  His goodness also extends:

-To the lost

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

-To the animals

Matthew 6:26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

God does this because He is good.  He defines goodness.  It is this goodness which He desires us to have produced in our own lives through the Holy Spirit.

In the next couple of days we will discuss what this looks like in more detail.  For today, let us just meditate on the goodness of God in our lives.  As a dear friend said a couple of days ago, we can get so overwhelmed by the negative around us, but focusing on the goodness of God in our lives will keep us from being consumed by it.  In fact, the goodness of God, when our focus, will cause us to break forth in praise.