‘The fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.’
(Galatians 5:22-23 in the Holy Bible)
I remember as a child and teenager back on the farm in Louisiana where I grew up the expression ‘that is a good man’ or ‘that is a good woman’. These words about a person where powerful testimonies of a life well lived. I did not know how powerful they were until I had left and went on to the world and came to know many people that could not be described as a ‘good’ person.
I think that goodness is an outstanding virtue that must not be overlooked.
Have you ever known a good person? I mean really good?
Just think of some qualities of a good person:
* Time for others
* Easy to talk too
* Ready to help
* A pleasant person
* Sees a need and meets it
* Godly in their living
* Enjoyable to be around
* Generous in giving of their resources
* An uplifting spirit
* Helping others to achieve their dreams
These are just some of a long list of qualities that could be attributed to a good person. Now I have sought to put the focus on real goodness. I do not want to make it too ‘spiritual’. The problem many face with following Jesus is they make it so ‘spiritual’ they are of little earthy good! Now don’t forget that goodness IS SPIRITUAL!
Please note that goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that should fill each of our lives.
I ask a question? Are you a good person full of good works and actions? Remember Jesus put the emphasis on love in action in the story of the ‘good Samaritan’. We are not to pass by a person in need without seeking to meet that need as much as is possible to do. Also in another place Jesus spoke of the way we care for others is the way we care and serve Him. These are all acts of personal goodness.
In many cases ‘Christians’ do most of their ‘goodness’ in and through the local church or aid organization. We simply give money and feel that is all there is to do. Our next-door neighbor is hungry, someone is sick and needs a home-cooked meal, a neighbor needs their lawn mowed because they are away on a trip. Someone needs a person to look after their children for a night. A friend needs a visit or phone call. Someone you know cannot pay their phone bill. A car is broken down in the street or along the highway. Someone needs a ride to work. You are in line at a grocery store and feel you should pay for the next person’s groceries. Someone needs new tires for their car and cannot buy them. A person at work needs someone to work a day in their place while they visit a sick friend. A street-person asks for food. Someone you know is now in prison and needs a visit. A person calls at night at bedtime and is lonely and depressed. You feel in your spirit that you should make a special donation to a person or ministry. On and on I could go.
I ask a question. Are you free to meet needs in the lives of others? Are you free in Jesus? Is giving to a needy person the same as giving to a church or ministry? Oh, how many people in need do we pass by on our way to drop an offering in the plate at church or to the post office to mail our check to an aid organization. As we seek to follow Jesus we should seek to meet the needs in others wherever we find them. That is the life of Jesus. I am not saying we should not support the church or organizations. I am simply trying to point out that for many of us all our ‘goodness’ is confined to something that is for just not personal in nature. Does it mean that we should give all our time and money to a ministry and then have no responsibility to individual people? I suggest you read I John in the Holy Bible and the book of James in the Holy Bible and see how our action in relationship to others in need shows what is really in our hearts.
I have traveled the world on foot carrying a cross. Denise my wife and I have received the goodness of so many people. People who help support us, people we meet who have taken us into their homes and given us food and a bed. Wonderful people who have brought food to us on the roadside and given that cool drink of water. I tell you it is thrilling to meet good people that are also very practical. People who ask ‘Is there anything we can do for you’? Do you need your clothes washed? They see you and seek to meet a need. Often we meet people who love the Lord and are praising God and are just so thrilled to see us but never even ask if we need anything to drink. I have run out of water walking and had religious people stop and shout and bless God and shake my hand and give a pat on the back and they go on their way. A non-believer stops and says ‘do you need anything?’ Or they stop with a bottle of water or food.
As Denise and I live we seek to not only be a recipient of goodness from others but also to extend that goodness to others. Even as I am writing this I pray that God open my eyes to the needs of others that I may better reflect Jesus and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The other night we returned from the remote Japanese islands where we had been carrying the cross. We had been up a day and a half. We got home late and just before we were to go to bed we realized we had no milk for Denise’s tea for the next morning. We went to the store and when we drove into our parking place upon our return home, there was a man walking by our car. He had on no shoes and looked very troubled. I asked him if he needed anything. He said yes could we call him a taxi to take him home. It was midnight. I was tired and now sleepy. I told him I would drive him home. He was so touched. I told him how God loved him and that Jesus could give him a new life. He was very depressed and going through a divorce and was about to lose his wife and children and home. He had lost his job and was also injured with a back problem. When we stopped at his house we prayed and he invited Jesus into his life to take control and give him a new life. Then Jesus told me to give him all the money I had on me. This I did as I emptied my wallet. He said now I can feed my children! He wanted a visit from the church I attend here so this story has not ended. He said to me. “I’m sorry you had to take me to my house and then give me all your money.’ I said ‘No problem, you are my brother in need. I saw you and wanted to help.’ I am not sharing this to broadcast my good works I am just seeking to say that we need to be available to meet peoples needs even if it is inconvenient or you’re are tired and sleepy. I tell you when I got home I was fresh and excited and blessed. Don’t miss the blessing of being a ‘good’ person!
Now do not take what I have been saying out of context and think that just ‘goodness’ is what is necessary for salvation and new life in Jesus. This column is about the fruit of the Spirit in a believer’s life in following Jesus. This is for saved people. Of course everyone should do good things and have a life of goodness. The Bible teaches that our good works are not enough to take away our sins and save our soul. That is why Jesus did the good work of going to the cross and dying for your sins. This God that loves you accepted the death of Jesus as payment for your sins. This living resurrected Jesus who arose from the grave and ascended into heaven will hear your prayers and forgive your sins and give you a new life. Just ask Him now. Then as the Holy Spirit of God fills you these fruits of the Spirit will fill your life.
GOODNESS! What a wonderful fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Please read the following passages from the Holy Bible and be blessed!
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the LORD God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken.
Hate evil, love good.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
3 John 1:12
Demetrius is known for his goodness by everyone.
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you,
The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land–
For how great is its goodness and how great its beauty!
Thank you Lord for your goodness!
Now may this fruit of the Holy Spirit be shown in all of us.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt