I believe that each day God is shaping, molding, perfecting all of us in some way. And most of the time while He does this, we are completely unaware.
And then there are other times that He simply smacks us across the face with what He has for us.
Let me back up because I am going to be talking about God's goodness, and saying He smacks us across the face doesn't really sound like something good. I think maybe a better way to say this is that He opens our eyes so that we might see all the truly great plans and desires he has for us.
When I started my research on the topic of goodness, God pointed me to this quote: "When we strive to be 'good' only for our own benefit, it is not truly goodness that we possess. In Greek, the word goodness, 'agathosune,' means 'an uprightness of heart and life' (Thayer & Strong, 1995)."
This was the smack that I needed, and I could see that God was working on my own heart.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law."
I think we too quickly overlook the importance of goodness in this verse. After all, the important ones are love, joy and peace—that's what everyone wants. However, goodness goes further and is something I realized is so important to becoming more Christlike.
I cannot support this next thought with any biblical text, but I believe that if we do not seek out goodness, we cannot really be filled with the other gifts. Goodness is a selfless act that we need to do over and over again if we want to truly have a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior. Remember that Jesus was called the "good shepherd" because He was willing to go to the cross and pay a price that none of us could ever afford. He laid down his life for each and every one of us so that we might have a relationship with Him. How good is that?
So how can we be good? It is really simple, but I feel we overcomplicate it. To me it is simply living a selfless, humble life, putting others before myself. It is taking the time to do what is right and to serve those around us in little and sometimes big ways. I believe one of the biggest attacks on being good that the devil uses today is that he convinces us we are too busy to do all these things. A pastor friend of mine once told me that "busy" is an acronym, which stands for "Being Under Satan's Yoke." When we say that we are too busy to help others, that isn't showing the goodness that God wants from us. In those situations, Satan wins and we lose.
The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of what I believe God wants from us in showing goodness:
Jesus answered, "A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a priest came down that way. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to that place, looked at him and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. Then he set him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day when he departed, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said to him, 'Take care of him. I will repay you whatever else you spend when I return.'"
Being filled with the spirit of goodness goes beyond what makes us feel comfortable at times. It means going out of our way, taking time to help others, not caring what people might think. To me it goes above even all those things to mean we will do what is right at any cost and never think twice about it.
The Good Samaritan could have passed by this person just like the others did. He might have said to himself "I am already late for work," or "I am behind in my board presentation," "I am missing my son's baseball game," "My favorite TV show is coming on soon." He could have come up with countless excuses; some might have even been quite valid, but being good is following the Spirit's lead at all times.
I challenge each of you reading this: Go out and serve those around you, but never for your own glory. We are here for one purpose, and that is to bring glory to God our Father. So whether it is taking the time to listen to a friend or a stranger because they just need someone who cares, or running into a burning house to save a life, practice goodness daily. Be filled with the Spirit and the Spirit will lead you to do what is good; you only need to be willing and offer no excuses.
This in turn will bring you into a closer relationship with Jesus, and that is what it is all about.
Dave Hess is the director of IT Infrastructure at Medi-Share/CCM. He has been with the ministry for nearly 14 years and during that time has seen the ministry go through phenomenal growth and the incredible ability to reach out to the community in service of our Lord.
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