Summary: A look at the fruit of the Spirit, goodness
Gal. 5.22 The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness
1. [Read text]. As we continue to look at these attributes of the Spirit-filled life we come to the next one, goodness. Now a quick look at this attribute as it is used in the scriptures is again very revealing. In the Old Testament, this was a description of God Psalm 31:19, 69:16, 109:21. However, when we get to the New Testament, this word, goodness becomes an attribute of people. Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Peter 1:5.
2. The implication of this is pretty overwhelming, the Holy Spirit empowers believers in these attributes in both heart and life. But the goodness we are talking about is really an issue of integrity, of agreeing in our words and in our actions. Goodness as it is used here is detailing a life of integrity.
3. And it has been recognized that in society, there is a “credibility gap” between what people say they want and how they behave. For instance, a father might say, “I want to spend more time with my children” and yet, he doesn’t. A couple may say, “we want to be better at having intimate conversations together” yet they don’t. People all the time say, “I don’t care that much about material possessions” and yet, they continually seek more and more. In business a person may say, “I want to be more honest” but when it comes to making the big deal or closing the sale, they say anything to get the job done. Believers in the church may even struggle with integrity at some points of their lives. There is this tremendous credibility gap between what we say we want and what we actually go after. In other words, a gap between what we say and what we seek.
4. But we aren’t the first to experience this. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. . . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.” -Romans 7.17-18. Even Paul went through it. That sense of what I want to do, I talk about it, but I just don’t do it.
5. Of course, we live in a much more advanced society than Paul did and we have come up with a solution that helps us deal with this issue of our saying and our seeking not agreeing. “It’s someone else’s fault.” You see, we blame others for our problems. We blame others or we blame our past. If this and this had happened differently, than I wouldn’t be like I am today. And we excuse the ways in which we are not people of integrity by laying blame for our actions on the shoulders of someone else. If I had gotten the promotion. If he hadn’t treated me that way. If she had not said what she said.
6. However, the truth is, our past may explain why we are the way we are but it does not excuse it. We can learn to understand why we are the way we are better but we don’t have to continue to live in the past, to focus on the things that we didn’t have or couldn’t have. Instead, we can ask God, right here and now, to enable us to live a life of goodness/integrity by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can ask for His gracious goodness to fill our hearts.
7. Plato, the great Greek philosopher once said, “You can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the DARK; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the LIGHT.” And the reason that people shy away from the light is that the light reveals parts of their character that they would rather not see, or would rather not be seen.
8. But as Christ followers we are called to live as Christ lived and He was a person of integrity, of goodness. He said what He believed and He believed what He said. And besides our looking like Christ, there are some other benefits of being people of integrity.
9. First, being a person of integrity brings protection. We have less to fear when we are people of integrity, not like the truck driver who sat next to the scrawny fellow sitting at the bar staring into his glass. Suddenly the truck driver, grabs the little fellow’s glass and gulps down the drink. The scrawny guy breaks into tears. The truck driver feels bad and says, “Come on, buddy, I’ll buy you a drink to replace that one.” “No that’s not it…this has been the worst day of my life. I was late for work and got fired. When I went to leave the office, my car was stolen. After I walked 20 miles home, I was so late my wife said “that’s it – you’re just a big loser – I’m leaving you. So I walked hear and just when I’m about to end it all….you show up and drink my poison.” The truck drivers lack of integrity cost him dearly! Psalm 25.21 says, “