In the profound letter Paul wrote to the Galatian believers, he reminded them that they had been set free by the grace of God. There was no need to return to the bondage of trying to live on their own, vainly seeking to make themselves right with God by their own efforts.
In chapter 5 he showed them the stark contrast between walking in the flesh (our mere humanity) and walking by the Spirit’s indwelling presence and power. The list of the deeds of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit is staggering in its differences.
But one fruit the Spirit produces caught my attention this week:
The fruit of the Spirit is … goodness (Galatians 5:22 NASB).
GOODNESS is the divine quality of moral excellence that is not passive but active. W. E. Vines says that the word “describes that which, being ‘good’ in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effects.”
There is only one place this quality is perfected: God!
The Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:5).
Our only access—but our sure access—to this quality is found by coming to Christ in faith and repentance so He can fulfill His promise to send His Spirit to be with us and in us (John 14–15). As we depend on Him more and more, He produces this fruit of moral excellence in us and through us.
Why Is Goodness So Critical Right Now?
We are seeing in our nation an explosion of evil on every side. We can sit passively and allow it to engulf our nation (and it will if unchecked). Or, as believers, we can do the one thing that overcomes evil. We can walk by the Spirit and allow God’s goodness to flow through us.
Darkness cannot co-exist with light. When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light, the darkness is immediately and fully overcome. Light is stronger than darkness.
Listen to Paul’s admonition about goodness:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
As we walk by the Spirit, evil is overcome in our lives, our homes, our churches, our communities, and our nation in at least three ways.
Goodness overcomes evil by not being involved.
Many believers watch the same entertainment and participate in the same evil practices as those who don’t have God’s goodness in them. This is not a “lack of goodness” problem; it is a “not walking by the Spirit” problem.
Imagine what would happen in our nation if every believer simply followed the Spirit and refused to support or participate in any form of evil?
Goodness overcomes evil by confronting it.
Jesus confronted evil head-on at times. His confrontation was usually aimed at those who professed religion but were actually self-centered, godless leaders who were putting simple people in the bondage of their humanistic lifestyles.
There are moments when the goodness of God in us will rise and directly confront evil … times when we cannot—and must not—be silent, even if it costs us our lives. Such confrontation by a Spirit-led Christian will always be motivated by love and done with a broken, humble spirit. But it is courageous and strong … and effective.
Goodness overcomes evil by being the agent of God’s goodness.
Goodness is not a mere feeling; it is that which produces godly, benevolent acts. Imagine an army of believers, filled with the goodness of God, engaging the world around them with goodness in ways that are an undeniable witness of the life of God in them—giving, caring, blessing, sharing the good news of Christ every day with everyone.
Warren Wiersbe said, “He who is long-suffering will not avenge himself or wish difficulties on those who oppose him. He will be kind and gentle, even with the most offensive, and will sow goodness where others sow evil. Human nature can never do this on its own; only the Holy Spirit can.”
Are you good? Is goodness flowing through you like rivers of living water, along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest of the divine fruit?
And are you praying that our God who IS goodness will open the windows of heaven and send a mighty manifestation of His goodness by reviving the church and awakening those who are lost without Him?
Evil is prevailing in our nation. It’s time to walk by the Spirit and let His Spirit through us overcome evil!