Reflections of Grace 33: Walking in the Spirit – Goodness

Reflections of Grace 33: Walking in the Spirit – Goodness June 15, 2014

Paul listed nine godly virtues that constitute the fruit of God’s Spirit—the inward and outward effect of having the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. They are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”(Galatians 5:22-23)

  • The spiritual fruit of goodness enables man to do good and to be good—good in the truest sense of the word. Goodness, after all, is the essence of God’s nature.
  • We all are fighting a battle…an internal spiritual war? It’s a sign that you are pursuing goodness, which causes the enemy of our souls to fight back.
  • Yes, according to the Bible, our fallen nature comes naturally (Romans 8:7). Goodness does not. But God has a wondrous plan to radically transform our character!
  • Though our natural inclination is to defy God, He has determined to help us overcome that nature to live a life of righteousness and goodness. This is possible only through a relationship with Him. As the apostle John explained, “He who does good [as a way of life] is of God, but he who does evil [as a way of life] has not seen God [i.e., has not come to really know Him]” (3 John 11).
  • John also explained that those who truly are of God have God living in them through the Holy Spirit: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit”
    (1 John 4:13).
  • Paul explained to believers that God’s perfect, loving character is “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5,).
  • Once God’s Spirit is at work within us, it produces the wonderful fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
    These virtues blend together to reflect the overall character of God!
  • In the Bible, the “goodness” of God often refers to His gracious generosity in providing abundantly for mankind’s needs and benefits (Psalms 23:6; 65:11). It can also refer to God’s generous mercy and patience that allow more time for all of us to turn to him (Romans 2:4).
  • But God’s goodness is much more than those things. It is the very essence of God’s nature— His righteousness and holiness. In Ephesians 5:9, we see that His goodness is closely associated with righteousness and truth.
  • To the extent that we have God’s goodness, we have godliness or God-likeness.
  • The Bible gives us God’s complete “instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • Jesus wants His disciples to “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). Being fruitful requires action —knowing the right thing to do and then doing it. As James wrote, “Be doers of the word”(James 1:22). Simply abstaining from evil and doing nothing is not good enough.
  • Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). We should too! “Through love, serve one another,” we are told (Galatians 5:13).  He who loves God will gladly demonstrate that love for God by keeping His commandments (1 John 5:3; 2 John 6)!
  • Christ said to do good to everyone, even our enemies! “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28
  • Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It’s a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. The Greek word translated “goodness,” as defined as “uprightness of heart and life.” goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.
    Someone with this kind of goodness will selflessly act on behalf of others.
    Goodness is not a quality we can manufacture on our own.
  •  “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” This certainly includes a life characterized by goodness. In letting the Holy Spirit control us, we are blessed with the fruit of goodness. As others see our good works, they will praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
  • “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same” (verses 32-33).
  • Doing good to someone who does good to you, Jesus points out, is not pure goodness. It is rather two people exchanging favors, which can be at least partly selfish. God’s standard is the very highest!
  • Here is an inspiring passage to remember: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith [fellow believers]” (Galatians 6:9-In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he wrote, “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness” (Romans 15:14). May you likewise pursue spiritual growth so that one day it will be said of you: You are full of goodness .
  • People speak of a life of comfort and affluence as “the good life.” But living a life close to God with all the great benefits He offers is the truly good life! Allow God to cultivate in you the good fruit of goodness. And that will lead to the gift of eternal life! That’s as good as it gets! 

Goodness involves going beyond the mere requirements.

  • Luke 8:15 talks about good ground and then speaks about a person with an honest and a good heart who hears the Word and responds to it. So here goodness involves the honesty of receiving God’s Word, then responding in faith and obedience, and accomplishing His purpose for one’s life.
  • An important example from Acts is Barnabas in 11:24. He is called “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (NIV). He encouraged others, according to chapter 4, and was generous and honest. He demonstrated the connection between being filled with the Spirit and these qualities in one’s life.
  • God’s children live as children of light and seek to please the Lord, “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth” (verse 9, NIV). Here Paul clearly parallels righteousness and truth with goodness. Finally he calls for us to be filled with the Spirit, blessing God, blessing others, and submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
  • A demonstration of God’s kind of goodness is called for in Galatians 6 where Paul appeals for gently and humbly ministering to others who are stumbling. We are to carry each other’s burdens and care enough to get involved with one another to prevent moral and spiritual ruin.
  • f t The fruit of the Spirit must continually be cultivated. We do not produce them once for all time. We need to sow to the Spirit continually so goodness will be expressed in our lives instead of the old selfish qualities. If I meditate on envy, jealousy, lusts, worries, or fears I am going to reap from them some very selfish evil fruit in my behavior and relationships. I may explode all over someone and cause great harm rather than good.
  • But when I sow to the Spirit by meditating on God’s qualities through the Word, I will bear good fruit of kind, generous, beneficial acts toward others. I will help others experience God’s forgiving, restoring love in Christ through faith. I will also live a morally pure life according to God’s holiness.
  • Bearing goodness means God can depend on me to be honest, and turn away from evil. We need to continually seek to express this goodness in our actions towards others.
  • But please remember that we are powerless within ourselves to make the fruit of His spirit appear in our lives.  It is only as we tune into Him and develop His character is us that we begin to see our own human nature begin to change.
  •   In the natural we judge others by what we see outside their heart.   We see their sin and disobedience… but God sees their heart and He knows what has happened to that person that led them there.  He sees the completed work He wants to do in them.  This is why we should never judge others, but just love them, for judgment was only for God, not man to perform.   Always remember it is the goodness of God that leads men to salvation… He is good…He loves you…and we are Him extended to the multitudes…let them see Jesus in you!

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