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Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Goodness. What is it? According to the old dictionary, it is:

The state of being good; the physical qualities which constitute value, excellence or perfection; as the goodness of timber; the goodness of a soil.

The moral qualities which constitute christian excellence; moral virtue

Kindness; benevolence; benignity of heart; but more generally, acts of kindness; charity; humanity exercised.

Kindness; benevolence of nature; mercy.

Goodness is a form of kindness. It comes after gentleness in the Fruit of the Spirit, which makes sense; for how could you expect to show kindness if you didn’t know gentleness first? But it is more than just kindness: goodness is a combination of both kindness and purity. It’s being kind to someone in a pure way; you have no ulterior motives. We can see this clearly in the first instance “goodness” is mentioned in the Bible.

Exodus 18:9 “And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.”

This happened shortly after the Israelites came out of Egypt. As they came to the Red Sea, the Egyptian army was on their tail, ready to slaughter them all. But God delivered them by parting the Red Sea and bringing them across, before closing the sea back up and drowning the pursuing enemy.

When Jethro hears about this, he rejoices for God’s goodness. You see, God had no ulterior motives when he accomplished this feat. After all, what could the Israelites give God that He does not already have? His act was selfless and loving.

And that is how we need to be with our fellow man. Show goodness. When you help someone with a flat tire, don’t do it because you hope God will bless you for it; do it with a pure heart. When you bake someone a loaf of bread or a pie, don’t do it to gain appreciation. Act simply out of a desire to be an encouragement and help, not for attention or fame.

Think of all God has done for us. He has saved us and continues to bless us. He doesn’t have too; He’s done far more than enough for us. Yet He pours blessings on us each day, even if we don’t realize it.

I remember one time many years ago as a teenager all my family and cousins were gathering for a family reunion for about a week and I desperately wanted to go. However, my family was crazy busy preparing to move halfway across the country in a couple of months, and my parents said they might be able to go for one day, but that would be it. So I simply prayed that, if possible, I could go sooner. A day or so later, my mom tells me to start packing because my aunt was coming to pick me and my brother up and bring us to the reunion for the whole week. God didn’t have to answer that prayer, but He did. Why? Because of his goodness.

And this is how we need to be towards our friends and those around us. Help, encourage, and bless those around you. Don’t expect anything in return: do it simply out of the goodness of your heart. Yes, God can bless you, and most likely will, but that shouldn’t be the motivation. The only motivation should be because we have a loving God who showed us goodness first and wants us to give it to others.

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