“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“‘Why do you call me good,’ Jesus asked. ‘Only God is truly good.’” (Mark 10:18)
The word, “good,” came in fourth on a list of the top ten most overused words. We use it all the time. Good morning. Good night. Have a good day! The mashed potatoes are good. Sounds good. It’s all good. “Good” is a catch-all word for anything we consider remotely positive.
Goodness, on the other hand, transcends what we commonly call good. The fruit of goodness is produced by the Holy Spirit. This goodness mirrors the goodness embodied in the character of God. None of us are good on our own. Even Jesus said in Mark 10 that only God was good. For us, goodness means producing the goodness that exists in God.
Badness comes naturally to humans. Goodness does not. Galatians 5:19 lists the results of following our bad nature instead of following God’s nature of goodness. This list includes sexual immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, and wild parties. It’s a pretty nasty list.
But the Holy Spirit transforms our depraved, sinful nature into the character of God himself. Instead of producing badness, our lives produce goodness. To bear the fruit of goodness is to do what God says is good, to stay away from what God says is evil, and to fill our lives with good actions, good thoughts, and good words.
God created us to be good, just as he is good. If we are a good wife or husband, a good mechanic, a good fisherman, or a good athlete, that’s a good thing. But if we never become a human being filled with goodness, as God intended us to be, we’ve missed the mark. God created us to show his goodness to the world, to bear his image of goodness wherever we go.
When we seek and produce the goodness of God in our lives, we show the world who God is, and what it means to follow him. In displaying his goodness, we are doing exactly what he created us to do.
Heavenly Father, I know there is no goodness in me apart from you. I want to produce the fruit of goodness in my life. I pray you will lead me to what is good and lead me away from what is evil. Fill my thoughts, my words, and my actions with goodness. Let me be an example of your goodness to everyone I see, wherever I go. In Jesus’s name, amen.