Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Fruit of Goodness

Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Our opening Scripture today reminded us that God is good and manifests that goodness toward those who trust in Him. He protects us from harm, preserves us from the plots of men, and shields us from the malicious tongues of those who hate us. Because Christ is risen and reigns at God’s right hand, because He has been appointed by God to judge all men, no evil plots, no crafty schemes, no lying tongues will ultimately prevail. God is on our side and God is good.

And one of the things that God’s Spirit fosters in us as we place our trust in Him is this same goodness – the fruit of the Spirit is goodness, a goodness that looks out for the interests of others more than our own interest. Paul writes that we are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult; instead we are to overcome evil with good and give a blessing instead. In the knowledge that God promises to protect us, shield us, guard us and raise us to new life with Christ, we can face the threats and plots of man with confidence and strength; we can overcome evil with good for the good God is on our side.

So what does goodness look like? Goodness looks a lot like love – it suffers long and is kind; it does not envy; it does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It does not grow bitter, does not wish others harm – but delights as God sends His blessings and prospers. It does not revel in filth, does not gossip, does not slander, does not envy the prosperity of others. Rather goodness rejoices that against all expectations God has had mercy on us in Christ, has rescued us from sin and death, and has promised to work all things together for the good of those who love Him.

And so reminded that we serve a good God, a God who has promised to work all things together for our good, let us kneel and confess that we have often failed to imitate Him and be good ourselves.