“But the fruit of the Spirit is … goodness” (Galatians 5:22)
God is good. He is excellent, morally pure, righteous, holy and just in all He does; He cannot do otherwise because that is His unchangeable character. God calls His people to be good also and, by the power of His Spirit in us, we can reflect His goodness here on earth.
We can see God’s goodness in His creation: The Bible tells us that when God created the world He proclaimed, “It is good!” Despite the effects of the Fall, when sin entered the world bringing evil and death, we can still see God’s goodness in this beautiful world He created. We reflect God’s goodness when we are creatively productive, bringing beauty and order into our homes, workplaces and community. As you go about your work today, find joy in doing your work well and being able to proclaim, “It is good!”
We see God’s goodness in His attitude toward sin and evil. God cannot stand sin and evil…if He tolerated them He would not be good. We reflect God’s character of goodness when we have His same attitude toward sin. Do we tolerate sin in our own lives, our home, and our culture? Do we ignore it, or even join in? God calls us to be a people set apart and holy for His work…how can we do His work with filthy hands? We need to daily repent of our sin and ask God to give us clean hands and a pure heart to serve Him. As we spend time with God in His Word we will begin to see sin as God sees it: ugly, putrid and deadly. Sin loses its appeal when exposed to the light of God’s Word (see Psalm 119).
We see God’s goodness in His mercy. God demonstrates mercy by not giving us what we truly deserve. We deserve death and eternal separation from God because of our sin, but God, because of His great love and incredible mercy, has paid the debt for our sins with the blood of His own son Jesus who died in our place on the cross. By receiving that free gift of forgiveness and salvation through faith, we are restored and made acceptable to God and we are set free from the power and penalty of sin in our lives. We reflect God’s goodness when we show mercy and forgiveness to those who have wronged us and when we share the good news of the Gospel with those around us who are still in bondage to sin and are under the death sentence that is the punishment of sin.
We see God’s goodness in His plans for our future. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.’” In Romans 8:28 God also promises His people that He will work all things together for their good…what an amazing, incredible promise! Not just some things, not just the good things, but all things will ultimately be made good for us by our good God! We reflect God’s goodness in our lives when we live our lives filled with the hope and joy of these promises of goodness. When the people around us see hope and joy in us regardless of our circumstances, that is a positive testimony to the goodness of our great God.
God gave me a powerful and vivid picture of His surrounding and transcending goodness one day as I flew in an airplane. We took off in heavy cloud cover: the day was dreary, gray and rainy. As we rose through the dark clouds, raindrops streamed like teardrops across the windows. Then suddenly, we burst through the clouds into beautiful, brilliant light! The sky was pure blue and the sunlight was blinding. It was like an epiphany—the sun had been there all along providing light, warmth, and sustenance to the earth, I just couldn’t see it because of the clouds. God’s goodness is like the sun…it is always there, but sometimes the clouds get in the way of seeing it or feeling its warmth. If you are experiencing heavy cloud cover in your spiritual life, I want to encourage you today to ask the Holy Spirit to lift you up above the darkness of your circumstances and reveal to you the glorious, transcending goodness of God and fill you with hope that God has good things in store for you.
How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You,
which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You.