Did you ever ask this question of your kids when you picked them up from the church nursery, preschool, or a babysitter’s house?
“Have you been good?”
Now when we ask that question, what is it that we’re wanting to know? Basically we mean, have you behaved yourself properly, obeyed the rules, and acted in a way that you know is right. Sometimes the answer is yes…and if your kids are like mine, sometimes it’s no (ha!)
(Now I have to admit that I didn’t usually ask this question of my daughters. I figured if the adult didn’t mention some misbehavior to me, I’d take that as a good sign. I usually had enough to deal with just managing what went on when I was present!)
The fruit of the Spirit we’re looking at this month is goodness. Like I mentioned with gentleness last month, it doesn’t strike me as one of the most outstanding fruit of the Spirit. Yet I appreciate it because it’s one of my favorite qualities about God.
Like all the other fruit, God displays it perfectly. He is always good. God’s goodness is part of His nature, and it’s revealed in how He deals with us, His children
But what if we were to ask ourselves the question above. Have I been good? Much of the time, we’d have to answer no.
So what is goodness as it relates to the fruit of the Spirit? I found it defined at dictionary.com as excellence of character or behavior that shows high moral standards. It’s choosing to do what is right according to the Bible, and acting on the commands and truths found there.
Now in case I thought I could work up some goodness on my own, Paul put that idea to rest. We can all identify with his statements in Romans 7:18-19.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
Only through the saving blood of Jesus and the power that I have through His Holy Spirit can I do anything that would be called good. Paul says there’s not one good thing that I naturally possess.
But as I grow in my Christian life, I have that “want-to” to do good. It’s then that the fruit of goodness can begin to be produced. I make a right choice, I answer someone honestly, I speak kindly to my family, I turn off that movie I don’t need to watch.
So while I realize that it’s the Holy Spirit who produces goodness, what can I do to cultivate that fruit in my life today? Here are 5 ideas.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin in my life. I can’t be good if I’m allowing sin to have control in some area.
2. View any lifestyle decision I make today through the lens of what the Bible says about it. If I don’t know a specific verse that relates to it, look for a Scriptural principle that applies.
3. Choose kindness when I don’t feel like being kind.
4. Do what’s best for the other person in a situation, not necessarily what most benefits me.
5. Meditate on Psalm 34:8. “O taste and see that the LORD [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him.” Think of specific instances in the past when you’ve seen God’s goodness displayed in your own life.
Let’s go be good – with the Holy Spirit’s help – today!