Fruits of the Spirit- Goodness

What is goodness? – The worldview
To most people goodness is always doing what is right or looking out for another’s best interests, but the idea of true goodness goes much deeper than that. People exhort goodness in times of trouble or natural disaster. When fear and tensions are high people will naturally bestow goodness on their neighbors. It is the old philosophy of “your in the same boat as I am so if I help you then in the end you will help me”. The Problem is when the disaster is passed or fear is abated those same people usually revert back to their normal attitudes of every man for himself. 

For a Christian goodness is not a here today gone tomorrow attitude, it is a way of life. We are to bestow goodness on everyone; Christian and non-Christian. Goodness should flow from our hearts. The problem is that many Christians are confused by what goodness really is. It is sad to say that some Christians do not show true goodness to fellow believers and especially to non-believers. For some goodness to others is based on merit, whether that person merits the attention and it should not be that way. 

Goodness should be shown to everyone. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:17 “that a friend loves at all times”. This means that if we love God and He loves everyone then everyone is our friend and we should bestow goodness on him or her. In this way you may show those who are not Christians an example of God’s goodness and love. Goodness carries a lot of weight and provides a window into the heart of God, but what exactly is goodness. 

What is Goodness? -The dictionary defines goodness as:
· That which is good or valuable or useful
· Moral excellence or admirableness

What is Goodness? – In Galatians 5:22
In Galatians 5:22, goodness is listed as the fifth Fruit of the Spirit. Again as I have already stated I do not think that as Paul sat down to write his letter to the Galatians that he simply slapped together a haphazard list. I think he was directed by the Holy Spirit to put this specific list together. This list is a guide to us as to how our Christian life should go. 

First is love, then all the rest follows
First we come to know love; the love of Jesus towards us. 1 Peter 4:8 says “to show deep love for each other”. This deep love comes from, as Jesus Himself said in Mark 12:29-33 “our love for God with our whole hearts”. Love is the greatest commandment on which everything else is built. Once we have the love of Jesus planted firmly in our hearts we will have great joy because we know that we have been forgiven. How do we know we have true forgiveness for our sins? The answer is that deep in our hearts where once there was pain and confusion there is now peace. We no longer feel the burden of the sins that once made us an enemy of God. This peace leads to an eternal patience, which is comes from a new awareness that the best is yet to come. 

This brings us to goodness
You can see by now that you cannot outwardly express goodness without first planting the seeds of love in your heart. I think both of the dictionary definitions fit in well with the Fruit of the Spirit passage because anytime we exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit our testimony is going to go forth before us and that testimony will be useful and valuable. There is an old saying that says, “Actions speak louder than words”. This is true of our Christian life as well. The best way to preach the Gospel is to live a life for Christ. This will allow others to see Christ manifested through our actions, which means we will become a better witness for the Lord.

The second definition for goodness also fits because if we are living out the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives people will see that we are being a moral example and will admire us for it. This will open up avenues for us to start to discuss why we say and do what we do. Paul when writing the passage in Galatians 5:22 knew that anytime you live a visible life for Christ it will open up opportunities to share the Gospel. 

A sort of grocery list for us to follow
The Fruits of the Spirit as you can now see are becoming sort of, for lack of a better term, a grocery list of the Christian life. The first four Fruits of the Spirit are internal changes that come with giving our hearts to Christ. These are the traits that happen to us. The next five Fruits of the Spirit I feel are outward expressions of the internal changes that take place when learn a new way to love, feel joy and be at peace. These outward expressions come as a natural progression of those internal changes. Clothe yourselves in Christ’s love and your life will really change.

Now not to get ahead of my self but there are those who will say that faithfulness and self control are inward traits and that the first fruits are also outward traits as well as inward traits. Both of these arguments are true. For the purpose of this study as well as what I feel Paul was doing in Galatians 5:22 I think the first four fruits are meant to be internal changes and faithfulness and self control are meant to be something that is manifested externally, but I will go over that more when I get to faithfulness.

Goodness as we have seen is an admirable trait to have. A trait the world seems to have lost.

Some closing questions for you to ponder

Do you have goodness as God views goodness in Psalm 145:8-9 where it talks about God being good to all?

Or is your goodness towards others pick and choose goodness. This is goodness based on biases and dislikes for a person, or group of people?

What can you do today to show others Gods goodness?

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Whitt’s End Art

I am a self taught artist who for lack of a better term considers myself to be an abstract artist. I love to dabble in all mediums and all types of subject matter. I especially love to add a little whimsy to many of my creations. I hope you enjoy my blog Inspire Arts as well as my companion blog tbwhittart@wordpress.com

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