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The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 7): Goodness

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A misunderstood title in Christianity is the word “saint.” It means “holy one” and applies to all in Jesus, not just those distinguished by their works. We are holy in Christ, but we are still called to be good.

Goodness is part of the fruit of the Spirit. The word means uprightness of heart and the stress is on how we treat others rather than our position in Christ. In other words, the emphasis is not on who we are in Christ but our response to who we are in Christ. We are to be characterized by goodness towards others.

Ben Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” So does this word.

The motivation for our goodness is the goodness of Christ shown to us. We, the ones who have benefitted from the overwhelming grace of God, now show grace to others. And one of the ways we show grace is by our goodness to them.

An accountant decided to apply his bookkeeping skills to the balance between God’s goodness to us and ours to others. He started writing down all the ways God favored him including the basics like food, air and sunshine to the special things like answered prayer, unique blessings and more. On the other side of his ledger he wrote down the things he did for God, being kind and good, giving, and serving. Finally, he gave up and closed the book. He said, “It is impossible for me to balance the books. I find that God is indeed my creditor and what I have done for Him is next to nothing.”

Being good to others can sometimes require a tough choice from the heart, but remember the One who calls you be good has been very, very good to you.

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The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt.4): Peace

Peace is sought after by leaders of the world like the elusive Bigfoot, but no one can ever seem to find it. Despite bumper-stickers proclaiming peace, signs promoting peace and tattoos making the ultimate statement for peace, it still eludes the world. Yet the Bible makes the bold declaration to the followers of Jesus: “The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)

But if you are normal there are times when that peace seems to elude you, too. When bills are due, the baby is sick, the car won’t run, the job is hard, etc. you can easily begin to wonder, “Where’s the peace?” Oswald Chambers said it so well, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.”

When we make our focus the Lord Jesus Christ, when we keep our eyes on Him and our heart aligned with His will, we will find that we have a peace beyond understanding guarding our hearts. One person said it this way, “Look at Christ and the dove of peace flies in—look at the dove of peace and it flies away.” We don’t focus on the peace, we focus on the Christ.

Two statues on a street in New York City help to illustrate the point. On the RCA building is a statue of Atlas struggling to hold the world on his shoulders. Across the street is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There a small statue of Jesus shows Him holding the entire world in one hand. Make peace your focus and you have a heavy load to bear, too heavy, really. But make Jesus your focus and he’ll carry the burden for you. “My yoke is easy, my burden is light, “Jesus says.

Life is challenging but Jesus gives us an unexplainable peace in the midst of all the chaos. Just like the eye of a hurricane, we can be surrounded by destruction but calm on the inside. It is a fruit of the Spirit so enjoy your privilege in Christ.

 

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