“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” – Ephesians 5:1-2 (TNIV)
Thank you for reading the previous posts on the Fruit of the Spirit (Fruit of the Spirit #1: An Introduction, Fruit of the Spirit #2: It all begins with Love, Part 1, Fruit of the Spirit #3: It all begins with Love, Part 2, Fruit of the Spirit #4: Joy, Fruit of the Spirit #5: Peace, Fruit of the Spirit #6: Patience and Fruit of the Spirit #7: Kindness).
In this post, I’d like to take a brief look at the next Fruit of the Spirit that follows Love, Joy, Peace, Patience and Kindness, which is Goodness.
The spiritual fruit of Goodness (Agathos) carries forward some of the same properties as the fruit of Kindness, in that it does mean to engage in acts that are good, benevolent, profitable and useful. However, the fruit of Goodness takes this a step further in two distinct ways. Let’s take a look at those ways now.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” – Philippians 4:8
First, the Fruit of Goodness, with the help of the Spirit, inspires us to cultivate morals and values in our minds (and eventually in our behavior) which are good, right, true and godly. As I understand the fruit of Goodness, I think it’s God’s desire to have our thinking so permeated with the way He views people (which is Good) that it creates new default connections within our brain toward thinking about good(ness). This “new” way of thinking and seeing others through the lens of Goodness prompts, leads and guides us to contemplate what is good, benevolent, profitable and useful, primarily for the benefit of others.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” – John 15:8 (TNIV)
Second, if our mindset is influenced toward thinking about what is good, we’re apt to engage in, act and deliver the good behavior that is appropriate to the situation with others. At times, we’ll also notice that this line of thinking will lead us toward doing good works that are outside of our comfort zone.
So a brief summation of the two points is that God, through the fruit of Goodness, would motivate us to engage in good works because we’ve positioned ourselves to be open to think about what is beneficial and advantageous for the welfare of others. When “saturated” with these thoughts, we’re led to facilitate or demonstrate behavior(s) that are beneficial and advantageous for the welfare of others. R. J Krejcir, Founder of Into Thy Word Ministries, says of the Fruit of Goodness: “Goodness is what one is (thoughts), and Goodness is what one does (actions).”
This aspirational (but definitely attainable) frame of mind, state of being and engagement in daily behaviors that are Good are prone to occur when we remain in Him (John 15:4-5), again, for our benefit but of course, for the benefit of others. When we remain or “dwell” in Christ, we’ll take on the character, flavor and manifestation of the One who is transfusing His life to us. In this case, the fruit that’ll be produced as a result of God’s love coursing through us is good thinking and good works.
So what are the Good thoughts and actions that God wants to produce in us and through us to benefit another? Anything come to mind? Sometimes the good works are deliberate and will be developed over multiple seasons of a person’s life, as is the case when you think and act to create The Blessing (see below) in the life of a loved one. As a parent, I can personally attest that practicing the 5 principles facilitates good works which yield positive and profound blessings in the lives of your children. I highly recommend that parents and grandparents alike purchase this book for your children or your children’s children!
“The Father of a righteous child has great joy; he who has a wise child delights in him/her. May your Father and Mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!” – Proverbs 23:24-25 (TNIV)
At other times I’ve seen how the demonstration of Good works create and facilitate life altering changes when benevolent people engage in simple, random and creative acts of kindness which are freely given for the benefit of others. In the video below, I’m encouraged by the acts (which are Good) that Yasmin J conceived and intentionally gave to others, simply because she was led to think about how others could benefit from the fruit of Goodness.
I’m also encouraged because the acts that Yasmin engages in are simple and doable; the actions she engages in are behaviors that all of us have the capacity to develop then deliver. You’ll also notice that her good deeds seemingly makes all the difference in the world to the recipients of her actions. Take a moment to watch Yasmin in this 3 minute video:
So in closing, I encourage you to integrate all that you have read in this post about the Fruit called Goodness. I encourage you to ask yourself: What could I do that would help me to become more focused on developing this fruit and characteristic called Goodness? How does God want me to deliver the fruit to others? Who needs to receive something Good from me today? What are the simple things that I could provide that more than likely, will provide nurturance to someone who needs to be edified by this specific fruit?
Thanks for reading about the fruit of Goodness, and don’t forget to bless someone (per the input below) today!
5 Elements of a Biblical Blessing (by Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent)
- Provide to your children appropriate, safe and meaningful touch: Before a word was spoken, there was the laying on of hands, a hug or reaching out to touch. Appropriate touch conveys in powerful, non-verbal ways, our love and affirmation – preparing the way for our words.
- Provide positive spoken messages to them: Biblically, a child wasn’t left to “fill in the blanks” whether they were valuable to a parent or grandparent. Words were verbalized, including written words today, that can place unconditional love and acceptance into the heart of a child or loved one.
- Attach high value to their life: But what words do you say or write? The word, “Blessing” itself carried the idea that the person you’re blessing is of incredible worth and value – even as an imperfect person. In short, you’re helping a child “get the picture” that you see things in their life today, that make them special, useful and of great value to you.
- Envision a special future for them: With our touch, with our words that attach high value, come a response in a child or loved one’s heart that can be nothing short of transformational. The light going on in their heart and mind that the way God has made them, they can do more than they ever dreamed in living out a God-honoring future.
- Demonstrate a genuine commitment to see the blessing developed in their life: “Blessing” a child doesn’t mean we never discipline them or point out areas growth. But children “know at an incredibly deep level if they have their parents “blessing” – if that mom or dad, grandmother, aunt, uncle or other loved one really sees high value in them – even during the tough times. Genuine commitment is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person that says as long as I have breath, I’ll be there to seek to build these 5 elements of the Blessing into your life and life-story.
P.S.: I have a sneaking suspicion that Yasmin enjoyed her birthday celebration. What do you think?
Here’s a link to the next post in this series: “The Fruit of the Spirit #9: Faithfulness.”
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