The Fruits of the Spirit: Goodness
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5 tells us of the 9 fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are evidence of our lives being walked by the Spirit, rather than the flesh. If we give ourselves to Him fully, and walk by the Spirit of God, it will be evident by the fruit in our life.
What does goodness really mean? The word can almost seem too simple to be listed as a fruit of the Spirit. Is there a deeper meaning than being just simply, good?
One definition of the word translated as goodness is “uprightness of heart.” When I envision what it looks like to have an “upright heart,” I see a heart lifted up towards God, just as someone would tilt their head upright to set their face towards the sun. To have an upright heart is to be open and in a right place with God, to let His light shine and reveal a heart fully submitted to righteousness through Him. Our actions will follow the position of our heart.
This can be a difficult place to reach, and especially difficult to stay at consistently. But there is a way to reach it, and I think it lies in the simple fact that “goodness” is a fruit of the Spirit. When we live our lives by the flesh, led by our fleshly thoughts and desires, “goodness” will not be a fruit. If we choose, however, to live by the Spirit of God, the fruit will be evident. Spending time in His presence, gazing at His beauty and His righteousness, soaking in the truth that we are accepted, loved, and paid for by His blood, our hearts will turn towards Him. That goodness will flow out of our lives.
We need to begin to practice being led by the Spirit. That begins with becoming aware of His Spirit every day. It is in the moments when we feel our heart drifting towards fear or pride or confusion, that we let our hearts sink back into an awareness of His presence. If we begin to practice this awareness we will be able to easily recognize the nudge and leading of the Lord. The more we practice the more we will be able to discern the difference between His Spirit and the many other things that could be attempting to guide us through life.
Take some time today to stop and become aware of His presence. Begin your day there. Let your thoughts and emotions settle first on His glory and His goodness. The more familiar you become with this place, the easier it will be to recognize if you’ve left it.
Be blessed in His presence as you seek Him!