Devotion No. 8
Galatians 5:22 "…The fruit of the Spirit is…Goodness"
When I first started studying this Fruit of the Spirit out, I was kind of confused. When you look up the word goodness, you come up with the word kindness, which made me think back to our lesson on gentleness. I was confused on why God would have Paul pen down the same characteristic twice. But the further I studied, the more I realized there was a difference.
Goodness is the ACT of doing good, it’s your good thoughts and good intentions in action, your good works. Just like the rest of the Fruits of the Spirit that the Lord instructs us to practice every day, this one does not come natural to us. It is not natural for us to do good to other. The bible says in Romans 3:12, “…There is none that doeth good, no not one.”This verse is pretty clear in itself. None of us can do good on our own. From birth we are naturally evil (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12). We are naturally sinful and selfish, thinking of none other than ourselves. So why would we do “good” to others? We can’t naturally be good to others because it is not in us to be. How can we do good deeds for others if it is not in us? There is one way only. That way comes from the LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is through him alone that we can help that old lady across the street, that we can help a fallen child from the ground, or that we can go out of our way to do something good and kind for someone else.
We must have Jesus inside of us to produce this fruit. With Jesus inside of us, he plants the seed of God’s goodness within us. A scholar once said that God’s goodness was the sum of all his other attributes. It expressed his divine character. All throughout the bible, it talks of the goodness of God. How great and good he is. Someone once said, “You cannot have goodness without God, just as you cannot have God without goodness. God alone is good.” For us to do good to others without God is impossible. He is the source of all goodness (James 1:17).
Our last lesson talked on gentleness/kindness, and goodness takes that fruit of kindness and puts it into action. You can have thoughts of kindness and intentions to be gentle to others but you must have goodness to follow through with those kind thoughts and intentions. Many times we get put into situations that have provoked us or have hurt us and when we are in these situations our flesh wants to rise up and retaliate but we mustn’t. We must make the choice to express goodness. In fact each one of these Fruits of the Spirit is a choice we must make every day. We must choose to show love, we must choose to have joy when there is none to found, to have peace in the midst of a storm, to show patience when getting aggravated, to show gentleness instead of harshness and to practice goodness instead of evil. The bible says there is always a battle of flesh verses the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). The flesh wants us to do the opposite of the Spirit. It wants us to do wrong, wants us to retaliate and get angry and upset, wants us to do evil to others instead of good, but its then that we must die to our self crucifying our flesh (Galatians 5:24) and doing what is right.
John Wesley understood the principle of goodness and incorporated it in his life and wrote this poem to help him remember to do good to others:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
We should take this simple poem and the principle it holds and apply it our lives. No matter where we go, who were with we should seek to do good deeds with a good heart. We should ask the one from whom all goodness comes from to plant his seed of goodness within us and to ask him to let it take root in our lives and help us to share his goodness with others. This goodness will add to our Christian character and allow us to be more like Christ. Our goodness will show God-likeness and will show our walk with God.
Let us strive everyday to be more like Christ and strive to show goodness to all those around us. May the goodness of God show to others and may they see that it’s not your goodness but Gods. That they may see that it’s more than just doing good deeds but it’s making the choice to fight against our evil flesh and do good. We can only do it with the helping hand of God.
So the next time you see someone needing help with something, don’t just walk past, stop and help them. Next time you see a homeless man needing a meal, don’t glare and snare at him, give a helping hand and feed him. When the church needs to be cleaned and the pastor is the one doing it, stop by and give a helping hand. It’s what Jesus would do and would want us to do. I’ll be praying that you make the right choice to do express goodness to all those around you, even when you don’t feel like it and when the time is hard to.
We’ve got three more fruits to go and we will be to the end of our study on the fruits of the Spirit. Next time we’ll be studying the fruit of faith. I’m looking forward to this one
Get ready to dive in with me next time to see what God has for us! God bless!