“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
When I first started attending church, I was confused when people would talk about God being good. When I heard the word “good” I thought of it on the good/better/best scale. But this isn’t at all what we mean when we talk about the goodness of God. Nor is that what it means in this particular verse. “Goodness” refers to being morally upright. This particular word in the Greek found four times in the Bible.
“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” Romans 15:14 (NIV)
“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 (ESV)
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NIV)
What stands out to you in these verses?
These verses all remind me that goodness, like all fruit of the Spirit, isn’t something we manufacture on our own. When we try to muscle our way into goodness, it results in behavior modification. But true goodness is a result of heart change. Goodness blossoms in our lives as a result of spending time with God. We were born in sin and learn at a young age how to harm one another. It’s our fallen instinct to act in immoral ways, but through the work of the Spirit inside of us, goodness can be a defining characteristic of our lives.
The effect of goodness on our relationships with others also stands out to me in these verses. As we allow God to work within us, our lives will naturally change. Our relationships will look different as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The goodness within us will propel us to look out for others, do good deeds, and do what is pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit’s regenerative work in our lives isn’t just for our good and his glory, but also for the good of those around us.
How have you experienced the goodness of God in your life?
How have you seen the fruit of goodness grow in you?
To go Deeper: Read Living the Characteristics of the Kingdom, Woman Caught in Adultery