The Fruit of the Spirit, pt. 6; Goodness…

If gentleness is the “passive” side of kindness of character, “goodness” is the active side, or rather the more “pervasive” side.  The Spirit doesn’t just produce that mellow, gentle, and kind character, but lights a flame of action in us as well.  In the Greek, “goodness” is agathosune, it is the virtue of goodness in all aspects of self, including our actions.

When looking at this definition it is absolutely imperative that we are reminded that this is not our work we produce in us, but rather an aspect of the fruit that the Spirit produces.  One interesting aspect to this that I came across researching this term, was the idea that includes spurring others to good, or right action.  So, in a way, it is one aspect that is overtly “shared” with others, instead of being a strictly “internal” state.

Much of what is presented in churches is the idea that we have to strive to do good; that we have to work at it.  Well, when we have the Spirit, it isn’t “work” at all, not something to strive for, but something that “naturally” occurs as a result of the Spirit bearing fruit through us.  And, it isn’t our job to be fruit inspectors for everyone else.  What the Spirit wants to produce, as far as work, in fellow believers is between them and God.

Also, since this is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, we should be encouraging others to listen to and yield to the Spirit as He guides them, not as we think that they should be guided.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is none good but God, and it is His goodness that we are promised will develop in us because of Him and through Him and His grace.  Just as the Spirit gives different people different gifts, we should also expect this goodness in action to expressed in us differently from person to person.  For some, it is directly working with the poor and destitute, for some it is serving their family with an open heart, for some it is visiting the sick, for some it is working a 9 to 5 job to provide for their families, and on and on.

I know that, for me, it is indeed a great comfort to know that my character and my actions are in His hands, and as long as I have trust in Him, He works on me from the inside out, just as He does for all believers.

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