Galatians 5:22-23, ESV speaks of the fruits of the Spirit—goodness being one of them. In today’s language, we use the word “good” so much that it’s almost meaningless. The best Hebrew word we have for goodness is the complex and nuanced word, חֶסֶד (chesed). Goodness is the Holy Spirit’s work in us as we become more Christ-like.
God is goodness
So what does the Bible say about goodness? Each fruit of the Spirit comes from God and God alone. As Jesus said in Mark 10:18, ESV, “No one is good except God alone.” It’s written in God’s character and translates out to all God’s creation—God is good!
Scripture makes this clear:
- James 1:17, ESV, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…”
- Psalm 25:8, NLT, “The LORD is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray.”
- Psalm 100:4-5, ESV, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”
All good things and blessings in this life come straight from God, who is the epitome of goodness. It’s important that we understand this to fully grasp how His goodness relates to us.
We reflect God’s goodness
Since God is the author of all goodness, any goodness in us is a gift from God. In fact, He created us for goodness. Ephesians 2:10, ESV says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”
God’s goodness can only come from the Holy Spirit. We in and of ourselves are not good, and without Him, can never be good.
But there is renewal in Christ, and through Him, we can achieve goodness. Titus 2:11-14, ESV says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people… to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.” The Holy Spirit is training us to be more Christ-like and to be more receptive of the good works prepared for us.
Good works and faith are intertwined
We can’t have faith without good works. This doesn’t mean that salvation comes through works, but that good works are a natural progression of our faith. A life lived in the flesh is incompatible with the Holy Spirit.
While our works don’t lead to salvation or influence our salvation, they’re a clear indication of our faith and our Spirit-filled life. As James 2:26, NLT explains, “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
God is good—that’s His nature. It stands to reason that the Holy Spirit would fill us with His goodness. As we are filled with His goodness, it naturally overflows into good works.
There’s no shortage of needs. The more you look for ways to do good to those around you, the more opportunities you’ll find.
Reflecting God’s goodness
Titus 3:1 calls us to be “ready for every good work,” but what does that look like? There are ways we can train ourselves to be ready for the good works God prepared for us.
First—and most importantly—we need to pray, asking for the Spirit to fill us. In Acts 4, when the apostles faced persecution, they came together and asked for boldness to speak out the name of Jesus. Verse 31 records that after they prayed, the place where they were gathered “was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
We know when we come to God with requests that align with His will, He will grant them. 1 John 5:14-15, NIV says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
It’s certainly God’s will that we are filled with His Spirit. Ask for God to provide you with the opportunities to perform the good works He has prepared for you, and He will be faithful in providing.
Care for your fellow believers
If you need a place to start, look to the needs of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:9-10 reminds us to do good to everyone—but especially to our fellow Christians, and Titus 3:14 encourages us to “learn to devote [ourselves] to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”
There’s no shortage of needs. The more you look for ways to do good to those around you, the more opportunities you’ll find. Even providing emotional support and a listening ear goes a long way. Opening up your home and fellowshipping with fellow believers can be a great encouragement and opportunity to uplift each other.
Check your heart
What “little” sin is rooted in your life? Whether that is quarreling, white lies, or something else, we’re called to devote ourselves to good works but to avoid “foolish controversies, genealogies, dissension, and quarrels about the law” [Titus 3:8-11, ESV].
The message is clear—being argumentative is the opposite of goodness. We’re meant to be courteous to all people, and that’s nearly impossible to achieve if we’re in constant contention with everyone. Our hearts need to be geared towards peace and humility in order to be truly good to those around us.
We should always seek to glorify God foremost through our actions. In Matthew 5, Jesus calls us the “light of the world,” and in verse 16, He says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Through our goodness—our good works—we point people to Christ.
Grow the Fruit of the Spirit by signing up for our FruitFULL e-book!
Created just for you, this book is full of resources to help you and your family cultivate closeness with God.
Just like you make sure to eat a balanced diet, make sure you learn to grow the “good fruit” of the Holy Spirit.