The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Galatia and said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." The message of Galatians 5:22-23 still resounds today. If we are born of the Spirit (John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Romans 8) it is natural for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. What does that mean? In this space today, I would like for us to consider "GOODNESS" as a fruit of the Spirit.
One of my best friends, Travis Creasy, reminds the TITUS Campers each year that the book of Romans is a life-changing book. A few years ago we studied it through the duration of the camp week. One of the things he spoke of that year was how people need to be reminded of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This passage is easy to quote to someone else, but what about when your sour or when you are down? Is there comfort in this passage? I can't think of a better passage to deal with GOODNESS. There are some important things that we must consider as we read Paul’s words here in Romans 8:28.
All things work together for GOOD but not all things are GOOD. The death of a family member, the betrayal of a friend, loss of income, having a tyrannical boss, dealing with a physical illness, weak marriages, or experiencing family troubles are not GOOD. In fact, often they are the direct result of evil. This is important to observe. We often forget that believers are never promised immunity from the problems and pains of the world. Every day we must put up with much that is not GOOD. However, GOOD can come out of bad!
This verse promises that God can use all the circumstances of our lives—both the GOOD and the bad—to shape outcomes that accomplish His purposes for us. And His purposes can only be GOOD, because He is GOOD by definition (James 1:17). This passage is such a beautiful one that can give us comfort, especially during this pandemic. How can you make this verse work for you as you face tough, troubling times, or sad times? I want to share three things with you:
(1) Affirm your trust in God’s presence. Whether you do this by continuing your faithfulness to him, or renewing your faith, you need to affirm your trust in Him. Let people know that you are leaning on God when trials come to you. Let God know that you are dependent upon Him and Him alone. Give Him glory in spite of your pain. Remind yourself that God is GOOD and He is working for your own GOOD.
(2) Align your goals with God’s purposes. Remember that God created us to be GOOD, but we find ways to be evil (Ecclesiastes 7:29). If you want everything to work out for GOOD, and you want to appreciate it, you need to realign your priorities and see the GOOD in your life. If you see everything that you’re doing is not working, start asking for God’s intervention. Then study the Bible to see what God has planned for your life. You may be surprised by what will happen. GOOD things come from the heart and mind of God.
(3) Accept the reliability of God’s promises. Read Psalm 145:9, I Chronicles 16:34, James 1:17 and other Bible passages that tell us about God's GOODNESS. God has never failed to keep His promises. He never will fail you! God will always do what He says. If you will put your faith in Him, understand His purposes, and then accept His promises you will appreciate your circumstances.
Our Lord is GOOD. He expects His children to do their best to practice GOODNESS. May God bless you and keep you! Choose GOODNESS.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds