The Fruit of Goodness
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 5:22 NKJV
Matthew 21:12-13 ESV
Acts 2:4 NKJV
Acts 4:8 NKJV (Peter), Acts 4:31 NKJV (all were filled), and Acts 13:9 NKJV (Paul)
James 1:17 NKJV
Matthew 5:15-16 NKJV
One of the characteristics (Fruit) of the Spirit Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:22 is goodness. We often think of goodness as a pleasing act of kindness that some does. However, according to scripture goodness is much more.
When JESUS went into the Temple to cleanse it from the money changers and corruption, according to the word used in the Greek text, it was an act of His goodness, of God’s agathosune. This goodness is not self-righteous and is not based on knowledge. It does not destroy what is good, but instead brings light to everything that is fully good. Jesus did not destroy the Temple. He only destroyed the evil in the Temple, announcing it was intended to be a place of prayer. The Temple was a sacred place that had been defiled and because of God’s goodness, Jesus could not tolerate the corruption. We read in Matthew 21:12-13, “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
This goodness is of God and God alone, but because Jesus came and made sacrifice for us, the Spirit of God is available. In Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
We also read about others who received the Spirit in the book of Acts. Peter received the Spirit in Acts 4:8, everyone gathered received the Spirit in Acts 4:31, and the converted Pharisee Saul (who was renamed Paul) received the Spirit in Acts 13:9. Until the Spirit came in Acts 2:4, the believers had not received the goodness of God (note that there were prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament who received the Spirit prior to Acts 2:4).
This goodness of God is a gift that comes from above. It shines the light on God’s goodness for all to see. In James I:17 he wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
This is goodness that is not intended to be hidden. Jesus told His followers in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
God made HIS goodness available to us through His Spirit and scripture makes it clear that it is a gift given to us from above that we are not to hide.
WE are the light of the world.
WE are called to place our light on a lamp stand and not hide it under the table.
This is NOT a gift we should hide because...WE are called TO God’s goodness.
I prayed last night and this morning that God would give me an example of goodness, either someone who is consistently good or has shown goodness to me. Several Old Testament prophets and few military people who are believers and truth tellers came to my mind, but what stood out was my own inability to BE consistently good. I can be kind and I hate it when I am not kind, but goodness requires much more. See, God’s goodness encompasses an ability to be honest about standing up to defend the helpless or shutting down what God abhors. God’s goodness contains bravery and courage.
Someone who exhibits the goodness of The Spirit is willing to be a warrior for God. They are true truth bearers.
When Jesus entered the Temple Court that day and turned over the money changing tables, He was a warrior on a mission. He knew His actions would be heavily criticized. I imagine His disciples looking at each other wondering ‘WHAT is he doing?”
The truth is, that day in the Temple, Jesus was being God.
Jesus was (and is) so good that His light HAD to shine on the darkness. Even when it was very difficult, He told the whole truth...nothing was hidden.
After writing this, I decided I need to ask God for His GOODNESS. We can ask God to give us the fruit or the characteristics of the Spirit. Even in asking for goodness, I quiver and I wonder how God’s goodness will change me. I know God will provide it in His time.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: God’s Goodness
Consider God’s Goodness. Has God given you His goodness? Have you considered asking for His goodness? Contemplate those questions as you go about your day.
In God, Deborah