Summary: We are all called to continually "Cultivate" the Fruit of the Spirit. Here we focus on Goodness.
Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Today as we wrap up our series on Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, I’d like ask one simple question:
What is Good? What does it mean to “Be Good”.
To start, I thought I’d ask on a simple level, and that is children:
(Answers from Kid’s Church)
What is Good?
Abby – to share
Hudson – What you do
Liberty – prayer
Mavric – the crackers
Megan – Not yelling at Mom and Dad
Chase – Not disobeying Mom and Dad
Jamieson – Not lying to Mom and Dad; obeying
Adam – Being kind to others and giving
Jimmy – Giving rides to people walking
These are cute, but they are also quite telling aren’t they? This shows me that from early age we can comprehend what it actually means “To Be Good”.
So if that isn’t the problem, what is? The problem is the desires of the flesh. We know what is good, but our human self is of a sinful nature, and naturally gravitates towards those things that aren’t necessarily good.
The bible is pretty clear on telling us how we can spot “Good” in ourselves, and that is based upon what our life shows.
Matthew 7:16-20 (NLT)
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
So today, as we close this series, let’s examine further what it means to have Goodness in our lives, and how we are called to cultivate it further.
1. The Definitive Truth!
Let’s start at the most basic level: What is Good?
In man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.
(Easton Bible Dictionary)
So we see that it is a choice. But before you can judge something you must have a standard by which you judge from.
How do I measure Goodness? – Movies, who is telling me it’s good?
How do I measure truth?
A. GOD IS GOOD.
We must believe that God is infallible.
Psalm 100:5 (NLT)
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We must recognize His word and commands as truth
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light for my path.
We must trust that His ways are mysterious yet perfect
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Do I believe that God is Good? If not, what is your standard?
B. How we are made Good
1. It’s not based on doing Good things…
If “goodness” is just about doing good deeds, almost everyone would have to be considered a good person. Even the worst people in history have done good things in at some point in their life.
“Goodness” overlaps kindness in much of its meaning. The tree that is “good” is productive (Matt 7:17); land that is “good” is fertile (Luke 8:8); a “good” employer is generous with his workers (Matt 20:15). This sense of productive generosity is very similar to the useful helpfulness of “kindness.”
(College Press Commentary)
There is more to goodness than what we doing good things, because in essence that could be considered kindness.
2. Uprightness of heart and life…
Two weeks ago we talked about how gentleness and kindness make up what the world describes as a “nice” person, but we know that they are requirements of a Disciple of Christ.
And so in the same token, Goodness is a requirement of His Disciples because it calls us to be upright within our lives.
Not only does goodness give the thought of “excellent”, “distinguished”, and honorable”, it also includes the idea of uprightness of heart and life. What this means is that goodness includes abstaining from every appearance of evil.