But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
The kind of goodness that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives causes us to be filled with moral excellence, kindness and consideration for others. It is an active virtue that leads us to do good for others. This is true even if they don’t deserve it. It moves us to treat others in the way that God would have us to treat them. Those who are filled with God’s goodness won’t take advantage of others and they won’t sit around and let other take advantage either.
The goodness that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives causes us to stand up and defend what is right, good and just. Those who are good won’t abide injustice if they have the ability to do something about it. A part of what this means is that goodness may at times cause us to confront those who are doing wrong. Goodness isn’t a passive indulgence of sin and wickedness in the name of not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. Goodness motivates us to seek their good even if this leads to confrontation.
As with the other traits that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives there are several truths about goodness that we need to know.
Goodness Is A Part Of God’s Character.
For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5 (NKJV)
This is probably the most obvious thing about goodness but it may also be the most important. I say this because as the children of God we are supposed to reflect His character and nature to a lost and dying world. People should be able to look at the lives we live and be able to have an idea of what God is like. Since this is the case, it is very important for us to know what the character and nature of God is like. As I studied on this today I found several things that God’s goodness does.
God’s goodness leads Him to do what is right. “The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.” Psalms 25:8 (NLT)
God’s goodness leads us to repentance. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NKJV)
God’s goodness is shown to all people. “The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” Psalms 145:9 (NLT) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (NKJV)
A part of what this would mean is that any good thing someone has in their lives is a gift from God.
God’s goodness is a reason to praise Him. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalms 107:8 (NKJV)
We are to be good to our enemies.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35 (NLT)
We are to overcome evil with good.
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 (NKJV)
God rewards those who do good.
“There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.” Romans 2:9-10 (NLT)
Just as surely as God punishes those who do evil, He will also reward those who do good.
We can be full of goodness.
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14 (NKJV) To me this is a pretty challenging verse. It’s challenging because it says to me that I can be full of goodness. I can reflect the attitude and actions of goodness that found in Scripture. Goodness isn’t some pie in the sky trait that really can’t be attained. While this kind of goodness may be a high goal, it certainly is one that can be attained.
So what can we do to develop this in our lives?
Be sure we are growing spiritually.
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV)
While the word goodness isn’t here the word virtue is. A part of what virtue means is moral excellence, moral strength, moral courage and goodness. In fact the NIV translates this word as goodness. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen automatically. We must put forth the effort to add these things to our faith. If I want to develop goodness then I must a point to do what is necessary to grow spiritually.
Live the difference Jesus has made in my life.
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:8-9 (NLT)
Before we were saved we were filled with darkness. However, where we were once full of darkness we are now filled with the light that comes from God. Jesus hasn’t just given us light. Instead He has made us into light. He has changed our very nature. This change of nature brings about certain results in our lives. The light and life that Jesus has placed within us produces what is good, right and true. As we live as children of the light, or we live the difference that Christ has made, then our lives will produce goodness.
Live a life surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 (NKJV)
Here is something we have to wrestle with. If the fruit of the Spirit is goodness and the light that Jesus places within us produces goodness, then it must be God’s will that we show goodness and it must be the Holy Spirit’s desire to produce goodness in our lives. If that is the case, then where does our unwillingness or hesitancy to demonstrate this goodness come from? It comes from our flesh.
While the Holy Spirit wants us to live a life filled with goodness, the flesh pulls back against this desire. What we have to determine is which one are we going to surrender to? Am I going to surrender to the Holy Spirit and let my life demonstrate this kind of goodness? Or am I going to surrender to my flesh and not demonstrate this kind of goodness?