“Good” is one of the first words of which a child learns the meaning.
Right away, we begin praising our little ones for eating well or taking their first steps or saying their first words. Or taking a “good” nap.
And before they even graduate from the church nursery, they learn, “God is good.”
This simple sentence is far-reaching. My favorite Western Civilization textbook points out that the Hebrews believed God to be “one, sovereign, transcendent, and good.”
As opposed to the polytheists (Egyptians, Mesopotamians, etc.) whose gods were “vindictive, capricious, and malevolent.” These are the words of the textbook.
This fact has never ceased puzzling me. If you are going to create a god, why not make the god compassionate and well…good?
But pagan gods were hard to get along with and could rarely be pacified.
God is good.
Psalms 27:13 I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Psalms 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
Psalms 33:5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
Psalms 65:11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.
Psalms 68:10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
Psalms 107:8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
As I have prepared this particular series, I have looked at different versions of the Bible to see which words may have an alternate meaning. For example: Longsuffering is defined as patience. Later, we will add that Temperance means self-control.
But look up any version you please and Goodness simply means goodness.
Here’s a lovely passage from The Valley of Vision.
We admire thy goodness, stand in awe of thy power, abase ourselves before thy purity. It is the discovery of goodness alone that can banish our fear, allure us into thy presence…
If we want to be like God, then we will strive to be “good.”
Consider what that might mean: When you say, “He’s a good person,” what quality or behavior are you using as a measure or standard?
Here, in no particular order, are some possibilities:
A good person loves her neighbors. She gives of herself to help others in need. She considers others first, working tirelessly till needs are met.
Matthew 22: 39 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
A good person speaks with wisdom and kindness, using his experiences to help others endure trials or avoid pitfalls he may have faced and conquered.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
II Corinthians 1: 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
A good person is an example to others, considering the harm that might come if she pursues a certain course of action.
Ephesians 5: 1, 15. Be ye therefore followers of God…see then that ye walk circumspectly [cautiously, prudently]…
A good person is a servant to the wider community of neighborhood, city, church, school, civic organizations and supports worthy causes with his time and finances.
Romans 12: 13 Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.
A good person willingly takes second place and is content not to be recognized or nudge her way into the limelight.
Matthew 23: 11 But he that is greatest among you, shall be your servant.
A good person respects the rights of others and is willing to put himself in the other person’s shoes.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves.
A good person takes care of his family and looks out for the families of others.
I Timothy 5: 8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.
Lofty goals indeed.
Or as Oswald Chambers said of the Beatitudes, where Jesus explained the benefits of being meek, righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, seeking peace:
“The literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is child’s play; the interpretation by the Spirit of God as He applies Our Lord’s statements to our circumstances is the stern work of a saint.”
Being good requires effort.
But is a natural outgrowth and benefit of being filled with Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is goodness.