A guest post on Goodness by Kelly Obrien
. . .
The Fruit of Goodness
How many times have we heard this command?
How many times have we said this to our children?
We have even used it as a reprimand.
But what does it mean to be good? And can we truly be good on our own?
We all know that we can modify are behavior for a short time to give the perception that we are good. Kind of like the mom that reprimands her child with the “Be Good!” statement. She merely is looking for an outward change in her child’s behavior. But the fruit of goodness is not something that we can produce. If we are trying to be good, it is merely a work. We cannot produce fruit, it is not the latest DIY project. Fruit is produced by the vine it is connected to, not by human effort. Fruit can only be grown by abiding in the vine.
The Greek word agathosyne, according to the Strong’s Concordance means “uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness”. The Vine’s takes it one step further, stating, “virtue equipped and ready at every good point.” Matthew Henry describes goodness as “kindness, beneficence which shows itself in readiness to do good to all as we have opportunity”.
True goodness is active. It is action. It is associated with doing for others. Of course we think doing is just having our “to do” list and then checking them off as we accomplish each task. This active good is not a check list, but rather a natural overflow of the work of the Holy Spirit. It truly goes hand in hand with the previous fruit of kindness. The fruit of kindness is how we treat people and the fruit of goodness is what we do for them. Goodness is kindness coming to life. Are we seeking for their good instead of our own? Or is it a check list of niceties to get us through our day?
The Character of God
Good means different things to different people. In order to fully understand goodness, we must look at the character of God. Ultimately, He is the only one that is good. A.W. Tozer, in The Knowledge of the Holy, states, “The goodness of God is the drive behind all the blessings He daily bestows upon us.”
As the psalmist says in chapter 145 verse 9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” God declares of Himself, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” (Exodus 34:5-6) It really comes down to this: “He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself…He is infinitely good; …He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is” (Thomas Munton quoted in Pink, The Attributes of God). Goodness is God’s very essence.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. We do have a part in the Fruit of the Spirit. Although, we cannot produce it, we have a responsibility.
We MUST Walk in the Spirit! Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” He goes on to tell us a couple verses later, in verse 25, “If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit.” If we take a closer look, we see that this is a command. It is not a good suggestion. It’s something we are to do every day. Walking in the Spirit means that we are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. We listen and obey what the Spirit is telling us.
We MUST Abide in Christ! John tells us in both the Gospel of John and 1 John the importance of abiding, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4)What does it mean to abide. Here is an illustration: We are all very familiar with a power strip in this age of technology. We use the power strip to plug into to power our electronics. The power strip only works if it is plugged into the power source, an outlet. Although it can be plugged into itself, it does not work. It is completely dependent on the power source. Just like we need to be totally dependent on Him!
We MUST Obey the Word! We are commanded over and over to “do good”.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
“Let him eschew evil, and do good; let them seek peace, and ensue it.” 1 Peter 3:11
“Depart from evil, and do good: and dwell for evermore.” Psalm 37:27
Clearly, we have a part and a responsibility. We must obey and do good. As James 4:17 states, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
I want to encourage you to Walk in the Spirit, Abide in Christ and Obey the Word so that you “not be weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9), so that the Fruit of the Spirit will be produced in you!
Kelly is a wife, mother, and soon to be grandmother who resides in North Idaho. She loves teaching the Word of God to women of all ages through leading and writing Bible Studies and encouraging women through her blog.