Why goodness is important for Christians.
So far in this series we’ve explored five of the nine fruit of the Spirit. Now we turn to goodness.
Be Good, Don’t Hate
We’ve heard it from popular songs, seen it in magazines, and watched it on the tele that “haters are going to hate.” That’s what haters do, right? Well, as Christians, who have been made new by God, we’ve been called to a life that’s different—we’ve been called to a life of goodness.
Doubtless, few people think that we should go around hating others or that we should practice being bad. Even self-proclaimed “bad people” realize that there’s something right about being good. Furthermore, we all live life looking out for what we think is good and best for us, our families, and our friends.
Sadly, because of sin, our perspectives on what’s good and best are skewed. A false view of what’s good or best often leads to selfishness or, even worse, narcissism. Narcissism is a big word that simply means extreme selfishness or self-centeredness. In other words, for narcissists, the whole world revolves around them.
What Does the Bible Say about Goodness?
But what does the Bible say about goodness? Why should we be good?
The number one reason that we should be good is because God Himself is good. The apostle John understood this. In a small letter he wrote to fellow Christians, he tells them that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5, NIV). When the Bible speaks of God as “light,” it means that God is morally perfect. In other words, there’s not an ounce of badness in God. That’s why John says that there isn’t any “darkness” in God at all! He’s amplifying the point that God is completely good.
If we read on we find that we should be like God:
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7, NIV)
There’s a lot to unpack here, but the gist of it is that when we’re walking in the light (goodness), as God Himself is in the light, we are in unity and friendship with God and other Christians, and we reflect God’s goodness to the world.
On our own, none of us are good (Romans 3:10). We’ve all sinned and have fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). But the good news is Jesus’ blood, which He shed on the cross, purifies us from all our sin (1 John 1:7). We are new creations through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because of God’s work through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can now overcome sin and live lives of holiness (Romans 8:9-15; Ephesians 1:18-20). In other words, God, who alone is good (Mark 10:18-19), gives us what we need to be good.
How Do I Do This?
Let’s now consider some steps for adding goodness to our lives.
- Read through 1 John 1:5-10 meditate on God’s goodness. Ask yourself: What does God’s goodness look like? Then ask yourself: What would it look like to reflect God’s goodness in my life?
- Read Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:8 and ask: Do my thoughts reflect worldly ways of thinking or do they reflect God’s ways of thinking? Do my thoughts center on me or do my thoughts center on God and others?
- Examine your daily habits and ask: How do my daily habits reflect God’s goodness?
- Pray and ask God to help you locate areas in your life, whether in your thinking or in your habits, that don’t reflect His goodness.
- Look for specific ways that you can reflect God’s goodness to others.
Nobody likes a hater. Instead, reflect God’s goodness to others in your life.