FOTS: Going with Goodness

     I have spent my whole life trying to be “good.” However, distinguishing the difference between what is good in God’s eyes and what is good in others’ eyes is difficult for me.  To me, being good meant doing everything perfectly and maintaining a flawless reputation in the eyes of other people. I thought that in order to be good, I had to fulfill all of the expectations that others had for me. However, when God tells us in Galatians 5:22 that the Holy Spirit will produce goodness in our lives, He doesn’t mean that we will become perfect human beings who live life without fault. While we spend our lives trying to look “good” for other people, God’s definition of goodness doesn’t rest on the opinions of others. While the worldly definition of good is to look good, God’s definition of good is to serve well.

1) We encounter God’s goodness everyday.

We serve a God who is inherently good—it is His very essence. In Psalm 34:8, we are told to "taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” While we do not deserve God’s grace and goodness, they are made available to us no matter what. The core of our Christian faith is that we are saved by God’s goodness, and that it is because of His desire for our own good that He provided salvation through His son. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). And we read in Psalm 145:9 that, “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."

 2) Goodness and kindness are twin fruit.

Last week I studied kindness, which is actually very similar to goodness. A kind person is considered a good person. A good person is by nature, a kind person. Anything and everything I wrote about in the kindness post can translate directly into this post. So what’s the difference? Goodness goes one step further. To me, goodness and kindness have different connotations. Anyone can be kind once in a while, but what separates a kind person from a good person?

3) Goodness stems from character, not only action.

 While kindness relies on our actions towards others, goodness is deep rooted in our relationships with God. Matthew 13:35 tells us that “a good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” This verse implies that goodness can only come from a heart that puts God first. While we may be able to do good things for other people once in awhile in an effort to “look good,” true goodness requires that we pursue God’s goodness and not our own.

Discerning true goodness is difficult for me because I am a people-pleaser. Whenever someone needs something done, I am the first person to offer help. But is that because I am a truly good person? My eagerness to help doesn’t always stem from my desire to be good, but rather to look good. True goodness requires genuineness in our hearts that is visible in our actions, rather than meaningless actions that hide an evil heart.  In other words, we should do these things without seeking anything in return.So how do we find that change of heart?

4) God provides us with a new change in attitude.

To achieve a genuine change of heart, we must root our identities in God and rely on Him to produce goodness in our hearts, rather than delude ourselves into thinking that we can become good on our own. God recognizes that sin is a part of our nature. However, when we meditate on God’s goodness in our lives and develop a change in attitude that brings us closer to Him, He begins to reveal His goodness to us.

For example, Romans 8:39 tells us that God is constantly chasing after us, even when we’re running away from Him. “ No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”

1 Peter 1:4 tells us that God promises us an everlasting life and purpose. “Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”

5) Share that attitude with others.

While kindness predominantly means helping and being gentle with others, goodness not only requires kind action, but also straightforward accountability. Paul explains this in Romans 15:14, “I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.” In other words, we are responsible for keeping each other accountable in our walks with Christ and serving each other with love.

While kindness and goodness are considered “twin fruits” of the Spirit, goodness goes a little bit deeper. True goodness requires that we have a change a heart, rather than just a change in action. Throughout the week, I encourage you guys to reflect and analyze your motives. How can we all serve well for God, rather than just look good for others? God bless and sleep easy, fam.

SUMMING IT ALL UP:

1) We encounter God’s goodness everyday.

2) Goodness and kindness are twin fruit.

3) Goodness stems from character, not only action.

4) God provides us with a new change in attitude.

5) Share that attitude with others.