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the fruit of the spirit is goodness

1        GOODNESS DEFINED IN SCRIPTURE

The English word ‘good’ is related to God. This helps us define goodness. God is good, and wants us to be like him. He wants us to be good. We can all be good because we are made in God’s image. A prayer in Psalm 143:10 says, “You are my God; may your good Spirit lead me.” May your good Spirit lead me to goodness.

One dictionary defines goodness as the quality of being good. To which we ask, good at what. A good mechanic does not have to be morally upright. Nor does a good doctor. We sometimes say food is good when it has protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In other words, food is good when it is wholesome. This is also true morally. The spiritual fruit of goodness contains no impurities and is full of moral fibre.

In the light of our explanation so far, we could define goodness as a moral excellence in the whole of life that is beautiful to behold. This is what it means to be godly or to be like God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Our beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. It should be the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This is of great worth in God’s sight.” To help us do this, let us see…

2        GOODNESS displayed in jesus

God is morally perfect. He is never bad. Psalm 106:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” God is good all the time. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

In Jesus, God displayed a moral excellence in the whole of life that was beautiful to behold. Jesus was morally perfect. Demons called him the Holy One of God. 1 Peter 1:19 says Jesus was without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 2:22 says, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus was tempted in every way as we are—yet without sin. Hebrews 7:26 says he was holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and he went about doing good.” Jesus was good when he healed people. He was good when he restored lepers. Jesus was good when he helped the poor and needy. Jesus is the good shepherd who lay down his life for the sheep. This is the ultimate display of goodness when God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

3        GOODNESS DEPLOYED IN US

2 Thessalonians 1:11 says we should pray that God would make us worthy of his calling, and fulfil his desire for goodness. Titus 3:8 says we should be devoted to doing what is good.” We should be good at home with our relatives and friends. We should be good at work and in our community. To help us do this, we should remember that everyone is created by God… for God… to be like God… to be good.

Goodness is a fruit of the spirit, and to see this displayed and deployed in us, we need to be led by the Spirit of goodness, we need to walk in the Spirit of goodness, we need to keep in step with the Spirit of goodness, and we need to sow into the Spirit of goodness. Galatians 5:16 says if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh (this is bad).

As we do this, it may be helpful to compare goodness with other spiritual fruit. The first three fruits of love, joy, and peace are related to God and develop as we walk with him. Patience, kindness, and goodness are social fruits, and grow as we walk with God and with others.