Thursday of 2 Lent

Goodness

“Walk as children of light(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”  —Ephesians 5:8-10

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”  — Psalm 23:6

In Genesis 1:31 it says, “God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good.” Everything that He made was good because it is in God’s nature to do what is good. His goodness became incarnate in Jesus Christ, and any person who is in Christ will pursue that same goodness.

The Greek word for goodness conveys the sense that the thing, or the person, who is good is wholly pure and righteous. Literally, goodness is godliness. It is being who and what God created us to be. He made us, and it was good. It is important to note that none of us are currently in a state of perfection, of being perfectly good.  We are fallen creatures, and we are in dire need of being remade in His image. Goodness, therefore, is part of the process of becoming holy, of pursuing excellence in our relationship with God. It is not merely a matter of moral behavior, but of transformation in our character. It is not something that we can accomplish by our own will or power. To be truly good we must rely upon God’s grace.

Don Moen sings that “God is good all the time, He puts a song of praise in this heart of mine.” God is good, and he puts not only a song of praise but His very being into us by the Holy Spirit. When we are walking in the power of the spirit, the nature of God will become more and more evident in our lives. We can exhibit the goodness of God in our relationship with others when we let God do His work through us. Saint Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus to “Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” The fruit of light is the fruit which comes from the One Who is the Light of the World. That is why we find “goodness” in the list of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

An essential characteristic of Christlikeness, therefore, is goodness, because God is good, and everything He made is good. So for us to live in God’s goodness we must live in such a way that if people should see us they will see God’s goodness in us.  Another way to describe this type of virtue is to say that goodness is the love of God put into action. Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” As noted before, none of this originates in us, because we are fallen creatures. Goodness originates in the One Who is Good.  When we are walking in step with Him, then He will look on all that He has created through us and declare, “behold it is very good.”

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