Fruit of the Spirit — Goodness
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Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruits of the Spirit recorded in Galatians 5:22-23. These fruits are only exhibited in the believer through the Holy Spirit’s transformative power.
The world defines goodness as being morally good or virtuous, demonstrating generosity or kindness—more specifically, to do good.
This is how Scripture defines goodness in Ephesians 5:8-9, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true” (NLT).
As a follower of Jesus, you have the light of the Lord. If you are not following Jesus, you are still full of darkness. It is only through the life transformation brought on by Jesus that we can walk from our old life of darkness into the light with the Lord.
A common observation is that people who do not have a relationship with Jesus can still be good, right? God’s Word says that we all fall short of His standard.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23)
We can all choose to do good things, but our actions may or may not bring glory to God. As believers, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our actions.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” (Psalm 143:10)
It’s only because of what Jesus Christ has done for us (through His death, burial, and resurrection), that we can ever be looked at by God as His people who meet His standard.
The world’s definition of good is fluid. It means different things depending on the person, place, and time. It’s very situational. The good news is that for believers, if you seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction, you can demonstrate goodness in your words, actions, and thoughts! James 1:17 describes what is good as being a “… [perfect] gift coming down to us from God our Father…”
When those who are following Jesus display goodness, it almost always looks like they are doing things that don’t come naturally. They are responding in a way that doesn’t make sense! They are putting the needs of others above their own and displaying the goodness that comes from Jesus. We see in God’s Word these specific instructions.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:2-3)
“Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:24)
The goodness of God is selfless and without hidden motives. It is done for the other person’s benefit in hopes that they are blessed and see the beauty of God.
These types of good deeds can only be done through the help of the Holy Spirit within the believer.
So how can we demonstrate goodness in our lives?
1. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, we invite you to learn more about Him here. It is only through a transforming relationship with Him that you can truly demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.
2. For believers, place your heart in the right posture.
Ask the Spirit to search your heart and convict you of any unconfessed sin in your life. When He does this, confess your sins before the Lord and turn away—repent. Then, ask God to help you focus on His will so that the desires of the flesh would decrease as your desire for God’s will increases!
3. Ask the Spirit to help you intentionally slow down and be patient.
When put under pressure, it’s easy to revert to our old ways. Old habits are like traits that become hardwired into us, like anger, selfishness, or pride, but the Holy Spirit is actively working on refining us (sanctification process) and teaching us good behaviors so that we respond in a manner that glorifies the Lord! Ask the Spirit to help you be patient and slow to speak and act so you can consciously decide to respond through the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Think of things that are good.
Fill your thoughts with things that are good and that honor God. Watch and read things that are good and honor God. Actively participate in activities and hobbies that are good and honor God.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)
If you want to know what is good, prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit if it honors Him. If the answer is yes, then it’s good. If the answer is no, put this worldly thing behind you and focus on the things that glorify Him!
5. Keep praying!
Ask God to give you His power to accomplish His calling for you through His Spirit. Use 2 Thessalonians 1:11 as a guide to help you pray.
“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
God’s goodness is freely given through the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ, so focus on behaviors and responses that shine God’s light to a watching world. Ask the Spirit to guide you and help you demonstrate the goodness of the Lord in all you do!
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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