The sixth fruit of the spirit is that of goodness. It comes from the Greek word “agathosune” meaning an uprightness of heart and life. It is a word that encompasses our whole life and translates from our minds to our hearts and then to our actions and words. Goodness is integrity of heart and life. Its goodness derives from God Himself who is changing us into His likeness. Into His character which is always good! It is living like Jesus lived.
A life of goodness chooses to say no to those things that are not good and not like God. This is the kind of life that practices Hebrews 12:1-2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” This is the foundational attitude of the spirit of goodness. Sin isn’t good so we throw off the stuff that hinders and entangles us with our eyes fixed on Jesus and His example. That is a life of goodness.
Romans 12:1-2 says a similar thing. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Paul contrasts the pattern of this world, which is not characterized by goodness, with the renewing of our minds and being living sacrifices, people who do what God would do in every possible situation. It is a life of goodness, not a life of conformity to the spirit of our world.
A spirit of goodness speaks honestly, cares about justice, tries to mitigate evil and sin in our world. It chooses right over wrong and actively seeks to throw off the sin that so easily entangles. It challenges power when necessary and works for the common good. It confronts evils like racism and stands up for the voiceless and marginalized. It cares about living with goodness personally and spreading that goodness to others for the common good. It reflects the character of God in whom there is no unholiness.
The refrain of the book of Leviticus back in the Old Testament is “You shall be Holy for I the Lord God am holy.” The book goes on to describe how holiness in each part of life matters to God. This is the sense of the Fruit of Goodness. It is living with upright hearts, holy hearts, choosing righteousness over our sinful nature and being agents of God’s goodness wherever we are.
Father, give me a deep desire for your goodness. A desire to live with your goodness and to display your goodness in my thinking, heart, words, and actions. Today! Amen