(This week we continue our series on “The Fruit of the Spirit” with a discussion on the word “goodness.”)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
The past several weeks we have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit. We have seen how love, joy, peace, patience and kindness play an important role in our Christian walk. They each call for a higher standard than we could ever achieve on our own. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that produces this fruit in us.
Some call this fruit “the nine graces” and they divide them into three distinct groups. Love, joy and peace are considered graces which turn one’s thoughts toward God. Patience (or longsuffering), kindness and goodness are graces that direct our attention toward our fellowman. Faithfulness, gentleness (or meekness) and self-control are considered graces which refer more directly to oneself.
Today we turn our attention to the fruit called goodness. We will learn how having a good disposition and a good attitude are an important part of goodness, and how goodness creates a desire in us to do good for others.
Having a Good Disposition
“It is not what they profess but what they practice that makes them good.” Greek proverb
Having a good disposition is different than just being in a good mood. Moods come and go. They are as changeable as the weather.
A good disposition is a part of a person’s personality, but this is more than an inherited trait. Having a good disposition means living consistent with God’s love. It means loving others as God loves us.
Let’s face it. Having a good disposition also makes us easier to live with. When a person has a bad disposition they make everyone around them miserable. They grumble, fuss, complain, and talk bad about everything. However, let a person with a good disposition enter the room and the world seems brighter. A person with a good disposition shows the graces of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness.
A Good Attitude
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
A Spirit-filled person is friendly. Are you friendly?
Jesus was quick to befriend the needy. He was a friend of sinners. He was always reaching out to hurting people. We do not all have to be a social butterflies to be friendly. Just giving another person a kind smile or a simple hello can go a long ways, and may just make that person’s day.
People who have a good attitude are able to look for the best in others rather than their faults. If you have ever been around someone who is constantly reporting other people’s shortcomings, then you know how that kind of negativity can affect everyone within earshot of that person. That kind of attitude is like a virus. It spreads from person to person, and before you know it everyone has a bad attitude.
Do you need a better attitude at home, at church, at work?
A Desire to Do Good to Others
“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley
The fruit of goodness means having a desire to do good to others. Doing good works should be a part of our Christian lives. These works are evidence of our new life in Christ. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Don’t misunderstand -- good works do not earn salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” We are saved by grace through faith. We can never earn our place in heaven through good works. However, James 2:26 tells us that “Faith without works is dead.” God wants us working for the good of His Kingdom.
Having the fruit of goodness means we seize opportunities to do good to others. These opportunities may include:
• Visiting the sick
• Caring for widows
• Giving to the poor
• Comforting those who are grieving
• Or, even bearing one another’s burdens
Time for a Checkup
When I was in the service, and going through basic training, I had a drill instructor who used to have us check our attitude each day. Our instructor would holler out to us, “Attitude Check!” Our response was to be, “100% drill sergeant … 100%.” It may sound silly, but when you are being trained for battle you can not afford to have a bad attitude, because it gets your mind off of your mission.
So, as I close this message today, I want you to know that it is time for a checkup. It is time for all of us to see whether we are displaying the fruit of goodness.
• It is time to check our disposition.
• It is time to check our attitude.
• And, it is time to check our service for others.
What changes do you need to make? Trust in the Lord, and allow the Holy Spirit to make those changes in you.
Next week we will continue this series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Until then, may God bless you!