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Fruit of the Spirit: 6. Goodness

Full of Goodness and seeking the good in people and situations. Goodness is the sixth named Fruit of the Spirit.

Goodness is not a word commonly used today, unless we hear “my goodness” as an exclamation from older people. However, it’s not an odd term when talking about behaviour.

Think about society for a minute. How different would it be if everyone had ‘goodness’ in abundance? How altered would your neighbourhood be?

Police numbers would be heavily reduced, as many would have other jobs due to a lack of crime. We would have one prison instead of many. News media would close down, as it has grown on the back of tragedy and alarm. Doors to our homes would be unlocked again and car windows could be left down without concern, as it was when I was young.

The value of Goodness is this: that it began departing from Australian society in the late 1970’s and hasn’t returned. From there the cost of protection and fear of harm or loss have risen exponentially.

For instance, when I was 20, in 1975, when at the beach, I could leave my surfboard leaning outside a shop or on my car roof or in the back of my panel van with the back door and windows open, all day, without fear of robbery.  By 1980, I would need to take it off my roof and hide it under the blankets in the back of the panel van, for fear of a would-be thief breaking in and stealing it. From that time, all our minds began to be altered. We were impelled to see evil, as did Adam and Eve after they sinned. Our minds were forced into this new era of thinking, where we now see a car window open and think how foolish that person is, when, prior to that, we would simply walk past it and not think anything, as that type of domestic theft wasn’t prevalent.

When Goodness is missing from society, fear reigns and loss is the outcome. Loss of the tangible goods and intangible freedom and innocence, and I miss that innocence in society.  Goodness is simply following the righteous principles found in God’s law, and applying them internally and externally.

The definition in Strong’s Concordance G19 is “Uprightness of heart”. Some other fruit of the Spirit are based on similar definitions.

An ‘upright heart’ is like a grapevine trellis in a vineyard, that is purposefully fashioned to support the heavy weight of vine development and fruit growth. It is much like a skeleton, designed to be the framework for body growth. It maintains the order.

Goodness, is a hidden gem which needs to come to the surface. With Goodness, comes better decision making, a brighter outlook, stronger relationships, closer marriages, and positive work ethic.

However, all growth first starts with us and the decisions we make.  It begins with us following God and understanding and applying those principles, as we select what is ‘good’ in God’s eyes based on his Word, when decisions need to be made. That is good-ness.

The change in us, like an overflowing pond, then flows outward, affecting those we meet.

We begin to think ‘good’, act ‘good’, favour that which is ‘good’, choose friends that are ‘good’, and teach others to be ‘good’. From there, Goodness returns to our society.

We understand what is wrong, but choose to look at the goodness in others, the green growth, rather than their deficiencies, the dead wood. We choose to overlook things that others might struggle to overlook, knowing that we cannot poor poison on something and expect it to grow. Instead, we poor goodness and mercy which almost always reaps new and stronger growth and changes in behaviour.

Our vision is to be that of a farmer or husbandman or God. It needs foresight and planning, without the desire for immediacy, looking for the upcoming days of harvest and the rejoicing that a great harvest brings.

Ps 33:5, states, “…the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Today’s world is hammered by negatives, all derived from Satan. This drags society down.  We need to look beyond that, to see the goodness God has provided. When we have that vision, it is like an Ark keeping us safely navigating through the pessimism and adversaries of life, and on to the place of rest that God has set before us.

2 Chron 32:32 & 35:26 speak of the goodness of Kings Hezekiah and Josiah, both outstanding sovereigns under God. Hope came with that goodness. Believers are called to be kings and priests of God, and cannot be found without this attribute.   From our food to the laws and rules of society, the goodness comes from God, and only changes when tampered with.

Moreover, as we have seen in earlier editions of ‘Life’ and its predecessor ‘Daily Life’, some decisions God made about the seven revelatory churches were based around their ‘works’. This had to do with good and not so good works.  It was also about prioritising their good works to maintain orderliness, as the Church at Ephesus discovered.  God said they had left their first love, and told them to return to that love before attempting to move on. We are to do the same if that is our issue.

Therefore, we first establish Goodness within ourselves, and then pour it on others. Anyone can find fault. Choose to bless. Choose to find good and be graceful. Choose to speak goodness. Choose to promote growth.

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