This month we’ve been talking about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics flow from a heart led by the Spirit.
Two terms—kindness and goodness—might seem almost identical. And truthfully, they are very similar. If you look up the word “goodness” in Strong’s Concordance, you’d notice that the word kindness appears in the definition: “uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness.”
While similar, though, goodness specifically relates to action. I love how one writer puts it:
“Goodness is righteousness in action. Goodness boldly does what’s right, and encourages others to do good as well.” (read the full article here)
This means putting others before self, perhaps through hospitality or generosity. But it also has the element of knowing what is right and making it so.
When King Hezekiah instituted religious reform, Scripture describes him as one who “did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God” (2 Chron. 31:20).
Not all of us can institute policies affecting community change like Hezekiah, but we all have the ability to act righteously.
What might this look like in the life of a believer today?
- Church members often make a meal calendar for someone in their church who is sick or recently had a baby, but why not take it a step further? Think about who else may benefit from a meal:
- A homeless person
- A student in the middle of final exams
- Someone who recently adopted a child or is engaged in foster child care
- Someone who provides ongoing care for a disabled family member
- Do you have a talent you could utilize?
- Perhaps you are a hair stylist; consider giving free haircuts to the children of a single mom.
- Maybe you have legal expertise; consider helping families in seminary or full time ministry write a will.
- What about your online presence? Recently, an atheist friend of mine from high school left a comment on one of my Facebook posts:
“This is so refreshing—especially given the conservative Christian political climate we're in. As an atheist who has had so many negative experiences with evangelical conservatives, I am grateful to know Christians who absolutely agree with this writer's opinions.”
- When you write a comment on a blog or a Facebook post, is it characterized by a spirit of goodness?
- Does the content you post draw people closer to God or further from Him?
Whether our righteous actions influence an entire community or perhaps just one person, may we be people of action.
Let God help you model goodness. You never know what doors for the gospel this might open.
For Further Reading: