We are following on with our 2 fruit a day devotion, and today we look at goodness and kindness. These fruit in particular are some of the fruit that sometimes get overlooked when we consider the fruit of the Spirit. Maybe it’s because the scriptures that remind us about being good and sharing kindness are not necessarily the ones we choose as our favourite quotable scriptures. Today I would like to introduce a different way of thinking about goodness, but first, let’s take a brief look at what scripture says about kindness.
We all know what kindness is and what it is supposed to feel like. We also all know what unkindness feels like, but I do not think we fully grasp why we need to be kind to each other. In my opinion the simple answer is: Because God said so. If that is not convincing enough, let us rather look at what exactly God says about this fruit. If you search for the word kindness on your online Bible app you would get a long list of verses where we are encouraged to put on kindness because it will be beneficial for us and those with us. So we will not spend much time here today, but the question remains; why should we be kind?
Take some time right now to read Ephesians 4:17-32.
We are told not to be ignorant and insensitive, allowing our hearts to be hardened toward God’s word and ways. We have spoken about living by the Spirit and what that means and so here in Ephesians we see what the practical effects are of living by the flesh. Verse 29 says we must be careful to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths (gossip, lies, rudeness and unkindness = unwholesome) and that we should only say helpful things that builds others up. Bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and every form of malice should not be partnered with. Neither should people experience any of these characteristics from us. Instead in verse 32 it says:
‘Be Kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ, God forgave you’.
It is in this very verse that we find the answer to our question: Why should we be kind? We must be kind and put kindness on daily because we are no different to the people that we see as unworthy of kindness. They need forgiveness and compassion just like we did. When you have been forgiven much, it is easy to see others who do wrong and need forgiveness. It is in our nature though to not afford others the same rights. We must remember that when we are led by the Spirit we must live by the Spirit. For some it comes a bit easier because they decided in their hearts long ago that this is who they are and want to be, whereas for others they really need the help of the Holy Spirit. Either way, being kind and having kindness is something we all NEED to do because God, who is kind to us and forgives us, said so.
Remember that life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). So let us then be mindful today of what comes out of our mouths. So in the words of a wise friend of mine (Nathalie Hall), “Be Kind Always.”
The idea of being good and the concept of goodness comes from God. Sometimes in our walk with Him we have experienced Him to be a good God. Even in the creation story we see in Genesis how God made something and called it good. We also know that all good and perfect gifts come from the Father (James 1:17). But what does it really mean to be good? The word good as a noun means ‘that which is morally right or justifiable; it is also righteousness’. The Bible gives us many examples of how God delighted in people who did seemingly small things for other people that were good. (When you have some time, read the story of king Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29-31).
Most of the scriptures on goodness refer to God’s goodness. Goodness is God’s nature and when we do good, we do God’s work. When God speaks about bearing goodness as a sign of the Spirit He is referring to us having the breastplate of righteousness in place (Eph 6:14). The reason is so that we can intentionally make good decisions and behave in righteous ways as to protect ourselves from falling into sin and the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:10). So we know now why goodness is a valuable characteristic to have as a Christ follower, but what does it mean in our homes for those around us? Goodness is God-ness, so we must imitate God.
Galatians 5:19 says, ‘The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’. What this means is that since we know we have been set free and now live by the Spirit, there is no way we can simultaneously operate with goodness and selfish ambition; the two are in conflict with each other. The idea of being good/righteous or being a good person is an all-round tendency toward behavior choices that conform to God’s moral laws. It’s one thing to know what is good and talk about what’s good, but it’s another to put it into effect. Therefore, goodness is a choice and not a feeling.
- When I know what is right, do I follow through and do it?
- Does my goodness only extend to those that are good to me?
- Is just being a good person enough? Good person vs. God person.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9 in the amplified version: “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you”.
Goodness boldly does what’s right and encourages others to do good as well.