As a child, I remember when E.T. lit up his finger, pointed at Elliot’s heart and told my generation to “Be good.”
“Good” meant to obey trusted adults, to keep out of trouble, to keep from breaking things, myself and other kids.
A few years later, the band Poison was telling my generation we didn’t need “Nothin’ But a Good Time” while Marky Mark Wahlberg rapped about “Good Vibrations”.
Good seemed to have a new meaning for teenagers.
After that, we’d hear from rapper Ice Cube that on a certain good day, he didn’t have to use his assault rifle.
We should all have good days like that.
Obviously culture provides a variation on the definition of good and it is up for grabs.
I believe modern Christianity has provided a variation as well.
Does good mean to go to church on Sunday? Does good mean to serve those in need? Does good mean to give regularly?
It can be dangerous when Christian culture defines a “good Christian” separate from the source of its goodness. The danger comes in self-reliance.
Regarding the fruit of the spirit, goodness means to embrace God and not our own propensity for good behavior.
Goodness Starts With God
Because of sin, there is nothing good we bring to the table in our relationship with God. Therefore, we can’t clean ourselves up to approach Him. The good news is God reached down to us despite our sin. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life on Earth, died on a cross for all of humanity’s sins and was raised again to life so that we might be forgiven of our sins and enjoy eternal fellowship with God. We can’t add anything to this. It is a gift from God. In fact, it is THE GIFT from God.
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!” – Psalm 31:19
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Goodness Remains With God
Though we may be in relationship with God by believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we still have a propensity for sin and need to daily surrender to God’s goodness brought on by knowing Him. This can happen through prayer, bible study, fellowship with other believers, solitude, fasting, etc., but it doesn’t occur without God. You haven’t been saved from eternal death so that you can save yourself again daily. God made us to enjoy and to find all of our satisfaction in Him. He did not make us for His own need or to find His satisfaction in us. Our good conduct comes from our dependence on God and allows us to hold on to what is good for the purposes of God.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:6
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” – James 3:13
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” – Romans 12:9
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Promise YOU are not going to be good today. Instead, open yourself up to the goodness that comes from God and can course through every fabric of your body and spirit onto a hurting world that needs to know they don’t have to clean themselves up before approaching God.
When I believed I could be restored by a relationship with God who made me,
I gotta say it was a good day.