Yesterday we talked about the goodness of God. Today, we are going to talk about goodness in our own lives.
I thought there were none good…
Let’s talk about it.
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.