The Fruit of Goodness

Goodness gracious!

Well, for goodness’ sake!

Good heavens!

A kid growing up in the south might consider goodness as an expletive for church ladies. We, however, know the truth: we can widen our trunks and stretch up to the sky as the Spirit grows this particular fruit in our lives, yielding a rich harvest.

And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

(Genesis 1:31)

Goodness is God’s design. As I sifted through passages on goodness, I found a surprising variety of uses for this one word—healthy, wholesome, pleasing, beneficial. Before sin came in and wrecked it everything, we were created as good people in a good world. Even now, with the brokenness in and around us, we can sense a little leap in our souls when we recognize glimpses of goodness.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

(Genesis 50:20)

Goodness is subversive. Despite our best efforts at bringing about destruction, we’re always outdone by the Lord’s creative goodness. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), and the darkest nights give way to the brightest mornings. Nothing we face is left untouched by the force of a God bent on His glory and our good.

And He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

(Exodus 33:19)

Goodness is embodied in our God. Apart from the Lord, we’d have zero clue what goodness looks like. He doesn’t merely have the appearance of being good; He is the fullest, most concentrated essence of every praiseworthy trait in existence. To try to separate God from His goodness would be to sever the divine completely. He is the highest good out there, and when we rest in His presence, our hearts find their truest, deepest home.

Let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in Your goodness.

(2 Chronicles 6:41b)

Goodness calls for celebration. And no, one day in November gathered around a bird doesn’t qualify as sufficient rejoicing. To adapt a phrase from John Mark McMillan, if goodness is an ocean, we’re all sinking. If we can recover from the sheer size of God’s blessing in our lives, we haven’t even begun to see clearly. Every day is an onslaught of more, and that calls for some serious merriment.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

(Psalm 14:3)

Goodness is foreign to us. Created good, we purchased badness with the rebellion of one bite, followed by a million little (and big) rebellions every day since. Sorry to burst the “but I’m a good person!” bubble. But either you’re a good person or the best, purest, wisest, most genuine God in the universe lied. Sorry, snowflake. We’re all in this boat of need together. And doesn’t that make the Lord’s decision to actively love us anyway so much sweeter than if He were just giving us our due?

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)

Goodness is waiting for us in eternity. I’ve seen very few funeral scenes in movies where the 23rd Psalm was not read, so it’s hard for me to disassociate this passage from death. The truth is, after “all the days of my life” brimming with God’s goodness, I really should have had my fill. But no! There’s a forever of it to look forward to. (If you can stand the language, check out this sermon by Jonathan Edwards on the heaven we’re destined for. It’s SO GOOD. Literally.)

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

(Psalm 27:13)

Goodness is found in the present. Yes, it’s our promised future. But you don’t have to just suck it up and wait around for seventy years before you can experience the goodness of God. It was waiting for you when you opened your eyes today. It’s just behind you as you read this. It will haunt every corner of your life, brushing up against you when you least expect it (though “happy hunting” makes it all the more fun to discover).

They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

(Psalm 145:7)

Goodness is to be told. In a culture so quick to announce offense, let’s display how God has changed the core of who we are. Instead of airing our issues, let’s broadcast ways that the Lord has come through for us. Goodness thwarts impoverished mindsets, even our own. So there might be some days that singing aloud the fame of God’s abundant goodness is just as much for my own spirit’s benefit as for yours.

“I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord.

(Jeremiah 31:14)

Goodness is wrapped up in the presence of God. Can’t you hear His longing through the pen of Jeremiah? Let’s face it: we call material things “goods.” But goods aren’t the best good—being near the One who loves us is the best good. When we are content with the Giver rather than the gift, He can more joyously lavish us with gifts knowing that they won’t start owning us. And we can enjoy Him no matter what goods we have or don’t have. We’ll be satisfied with His goodness.

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

(Romans 15:14)

Goodness puts gloves on. It gets down to work in the world. In this text, goodness wears the uniform of teachers, though in other New Testament passages, it dresses up in all kinds of outfits. Goodness that sits on its rear in the face of need isn’t goodness—it’s just self-righteous laziness. Jesus met us in our desperation, filling us with good things. Now we’ve been gifted with dozens of fresh chances every day to bring good things to those around us. God blesses others through our mouths, our eyes, our willing hands. So let’s be good for goodness’ sake.

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