“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Goodness
I think one of the move vidid descriptions of God’s goodness, outside of the Bible, is found in the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia series:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”
…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Our God isn’t safe,
Our God isn’t frail,
But our God is completely good.
I like this snippet from the Narnia series because it reminds us that goodness isn’t a character trait that also brings weakness – which is a common mis-association.
Goodness when it’s difficult
Goodness is simply “the quality of being morally good or virtuous” – even when it’s difficult.
Because sometimes it’s easy to do what’s right and it’s even popular…
Othertimes it’s difficult, but you still get recognition for it…
But there are even be times where being morally good and virtuous is not only difficult on its own, but you will be ostracized for it.
And Jesus knows this better than anyone.
The perfect embodiment of goodness.
Yet He was abandoned throughout His life for His Message.
The religious leaders wanted nothing to do with Him
Many used Him simply as a miracle maker, but wouldn’t heed His teaching
Others called Him crazy and ignored Him altogether
And during His most difficult hour on the cross, He was abandoned by even His closest followers and friends
(not to mention that one of them betrayed Him)
Yet, throughout all of HIs life, Jesus remained good. Perfect.
And, so, we can certainly look to Jesus as our example.
One who withstood all trials and pains and overcame them all.
But even more than that, we can look to Jesus as our Savior Who gives us His Spirit to empower us to live like Him.
Empowered for goodness
Goodness is one of those traits that really reveals our shortcomings. When I think about my own “goodness”, I am so clearly reminded of how short I come of perfection.
But that’s why Jesus and His Gospel (Good News) is so good for us!
Because Jesus wasn’t merely an example. He is also our Savior, Who gives us new life and empowers us to be transformed into His image.
Jesus not only saved us from our sins (Romans 5:6, Acts 2:38, Ephesians 2:8, 1 John 1:7, Hebrews 10:14, Isaiah 53:5)
But Jesus also provides us His Spirit, through His sacrifice on the cross, to be empowered to become more like Him, as we live by His grace and His strength (Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 2:24).
By His grace
Just like all the other fruits of the Spirit, the most important thing to remember is that this is fruit that comes from the Spirit of Jesus.
So, instead of simply trying harder to reflect God’s perfect goodness, let’s surrender to His grace and ask Him to live through us.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26