“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, our character is transformed. In the areas of our lives where we once held onto sin, which reflects our human nature, we can now possess the fruits of the Spirit and reflect God’s character.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness. So, what does this mean, and how can it be applied to our lives?
Growing up, we were often told to “be good.” Maybe this looked like helping your mom with the household chores or getting good grades in school.
I think the true meaning of the word “goodness” is commonly overlooked, though. Goodness is action; it’s not something we do only for the sake of being virtuous.
When we strive to be “good” only for our own benefit, it is not truly goodness that we possess. In Greek, the word goodness, “agathosune,” means “an uprightness of heart and life” (Thayer & Strong, 1995).
When we act out of true goodness of the heart, we are obedient to God’s commandments and seek the benefit of others. Our actions come from a place of selflessness, and we place the needs of others before our own.
Does this sound familiar?
The life of Jesus Christ is the perfect example of goodness, as He died on the cross for the sins of humanity in order to give us the gift of eternal life. His ministry and sacrifice is an example of God’s goodness toward mankind. After all, the term “gospel” means “good news.”
Peter, a disciple of Jesus, talks about the goodness of Jesus’ ministry in Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
In addition, Jesus is called the “good shepherd” in Scripture, because He laid down His life for His sheep.
We are called as Christians to live in a way that reflects the character of Christ. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Goodness is not about doing elaborate things to gain recognition. Oftentimes, it is the small acts of goodness we do throughout our day that mean the most to those around us.
Is your friend having a bad day? Write them a note to let them know how much you care about them. Is someone putting you down? Pray for them.
It is in these acts of goodness that we reflect Christ’s character. While it may seem like no one notices, God does. Ultimately, when we show goodness, we bring glory to God’s name.
Grand Canyon University’s Department of Spiritual Life creates an atmosphere where students can learn more and grow in their faith. To learn more about GCU and our Christian heritage, visit our website.
Thayer, J., Strong, J. (1995). Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.