faith, fruit of the spirit, goodness

His Goodness Makes Us Good #FruitoftheSpirit

As we continue our series of the Fruit of the Spirit, we have come to goodness. Truly, only His goodness makes us good. But sometimes it’s hard to believe his goodness. Sometimes his heart is on trial in our lives.

I helped my elderly neighbor clean out her desk a few years ago. She was legally blind, so she needed me to read EVERYTHING and help her make a decision of whether or not something should be thrown away. She hated wasting anything. ANYTHING! So it is safe to say we didn’t throw much away.

Some of the things we came across were cartoons and jokes. She loved to laugh–then again, who doesn’t? How we need to laugh! Maybe some of us should start saving jokes and cartoons, but I digress…

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One of the cartoons was a drawing of two dinosaurs on an island. They were standing side-by-side staring out into the ocean, waving. Farther out in the water was Noah’s ark. The caption read,

“Oh man! Was that today?”

We laughed. (I hope you chuckled or at least cracked a smile.)The dinosaurs had missed the boat.

Sometimes life gets hard. We feel like we missed the boat.

Prayers aren’t answered, troubles seem to multiply, and we question the power, goodness, and faithfulness of God.  But when we start to think this way, we need to begin looking for the tangible goodness and promises of God because they’re all around us.

When we find those tangible good blessings and promises of God, it is easier to claim with the psalmist these very important words:

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68. Stand on this truth. Click To Tweet

I’ve been on those deserted islands where all seemed lost. The ship had sailed.  I was mad at God, restless and miserable until I could finally say again, “But I know You are good.”

I wrote this in my grief:

I heard Jesus was back in town,

But I didn’t want to go.

I was just so confused and hurt when he didn’t heal my Lazarus

I didn’t want my face to show.

 

How could I commune with the One

Who could’ve taken her pain away?

Who told me this sickness would not end in death?

Who told me she would with us stay?

 

But the truth is, I can’t stay away from him.

I’m not one for long fights.

I’d rather throw in the towel and hear his voice again.

I’m tired of the long nights.

 

So, I surrender the grief.

I ask for revelation and life,

“Don’t let her death be in vain!”

May this heartache no longer be strife.

~excerpt from A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called

When my one and only sister lost a second battle with the evil we call cancer, I was mad at God. My anger was not because of her death, which broke my heart, but I had thought I’d heard from God, and I believed with all the faith in the world that she would survive.

So, when she didn’t, either God wasn’t shooting straight with me, and he wasn’t the good God I’d always known and loved, or my discernment of the things of God was broken.

It was such an uncomfortable place to be. I had loved God since I was a little girl.

But one day, I got tired of being angry and feeling separated from him, and on that day, I knew I had to choose to trust in his goodness no matter what I felt.

On that day I raised my hands in praise again and danced to him.

And that is when it happened.

That’s the moment the oozing pain of grief no longer seeped from the wound in my heart. That’s when I knew he had seared the wound closed with his love. It didn’t hurt, but I picture it like a soldering iron searing the wound shut.

I love this verse:

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing” Zephaniah 3:17

The Hebrew word translated as “quiet” is charash which holds the meanings: to scratch, that is (by implication) to engrave . . . as well as to quiet and keep silent.

I think it strange to think of God “quieting” us with his love though many times I have gone to him throwing a temper tantrum or wailing. But what if the writer’s intentions were to say that God’s love is engraved on our hearts. It marks us.

I believe the day I surrendered my grief and anger and chose to trust his goodness and worship again, he marked my heart when he seared the wound. I’m marked by The Healing God.

I’ve experienced the truth in Isaiah 61.

He bound up my broken heart . . . comforted my mourning soul . . . and gave me a garment of praise to wear in exchange for the spirit of despair.

God uses all things for good. (Romans 8:28)

He used that terrible experience to help me realize how important it is for our faith foundation to BE his goodness. If we don’t believe he is good, we’re goners. We won’t keep our faith.

He used that terrible experience to help me realize how important it is for our faith foundation to BE his goodness. If we don't believe he is good, we're goners. We won't keep our faith. Click To Tweet

I heard a preacher say, “We’re either running toward God or away from him. There’s no camping out in the middle.”

I think he’s right.

But we don’t have to blindly believe God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are good, because we have scriptures to prove it as well as testimonies of his hand in our lives.

It’s easy to trust his goodness when things are good, but it can be difficult when life is falling apart, and that is why knowing the scriptures about his goodness is important. Our feelings are fickle. Life is full of surprises and ups and downs, but The Word of God is constant.

Fruit of the Spirit

We’re in the middle of a series studying the Fruit of the Spirit. We’ve studied love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and now goodness. As I researched for this week’s post, it became clear to me that the fruit of the Spirit is God Himself. He is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. All these character traits originate with Him. And we can’t really overflow with these qualities unless we believe in the absolute truth of them–that they are His DNA. Out of that DNA overflows those qualities into our spirits as we relinquish anger and questions, and trust His goodness.

In Galatians 5:22 the word translated as goodness is Agathosyne. It’s an interesting word, because it doesn’t mean warm fuzzies and unicorns.

Agathosyne does not spare sharpness and rebuke in bringing about the good, whereas chestotes (kindness) demonstrates softness and tenderness. Being filled with Agathosyne and knowledge enables one to counsel . . . it is the source of goodwill, good purpose, pleasing desire or inclination.) Good intentions arise from and are prompted by the moral quality of goodness . . . (Key-Word NIV)

Reading Plan on Goodness

 

Printable Scriptures and Prompts

Monday: Nahum 1:7: The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

  • Write down a time when you felt the protection of God in the middle of trouble.

Tuesday: 2 Peter 1:5-7:  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

  • Verses 3-5 explain that God has given us divine power for life to participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world. Knowing the context, why does Peter admonish us to add goodness and the other things to our faith?

Wednesday: Jeremiah 6:16 

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

  • Have you ever said “no” to goodness?Writ down what happened and how things have changed.

Thursday: Psalm 25: 6-7: Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious way, according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.

  •  If God’s heart is on trial in your life because of unanswered prayers or difficult circumstance, go to the cross. Spend some time there this morning thanking Him for Jesus.

Friday: Psalm 34:14: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

  • If you’re in the dumps, having a hard season, ask the Lord to show you the one person you can bless each day. Try this for 30 days, and see what happens in your heart. Write a prayer asking God for those “good” opportunities.

Saturday: 2 Corinthians 9:8: And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

  • List all the ways God has blessed you so you can bless others. Go out today with the perspective.

Sunday: Romans 12:21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  • What will this look like in your life?

Don’t forget to grab the printable!

Daily Broadcast

I’m looking forward to studying goodness with you. Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you. I won’t be there Monday. Taking family to the airport! I’ll see you Tuesday!

 

He is good. Let His goodness flow through you. Remember that inside goodness is wisdom. Read the definition again for its Greek word. It’s not always fluffy.

 

Digging Deep in His goodness,

 

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

P.S.S. This is part of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the articles on love, joy, peace, patience , and kindness if you missed them!

 

 

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