By Pastor Phillip Amankwa
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”
You can hear many people say that somebody is a good man, or woman. But goodness as a fruit of the Spirit is something very different. There are good unbelievers like there is good in everybody. But why must you bear fruit? The Bible says, in Isaiah 61:3, that “and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” If you plant a mango tree and it does not bear fruit, it is a useless mango tree. It is the same with believers. When you give your life to Christ, Jesus is expecting a fruit from you. One day Jesus went to a tree, expecting to see fruits on the fig tree. But because there were none, He cursed the fig tree. Jesus expects us to bear fruit. He expects us to bear goodness. But this goodness does not come on your own. It comes with the help of the Holy Spirit.
In Exodus3, Moses told God to reveal Himself more to him, to allow him to know Him more and to get close to Him. And in Exodus 34:5-6, God did just that. The Bible says, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,” When God was revealing Himself, one of the words He used to make Himself known is that He was a good God. In the Old Testament, nobody was called good except for God. It was reserved only for Him. One day a man came up to Jesus and called Him ‘good master.’ Jesus was quick to say, “Call no man good. Only the Father in heaven is good.” That means that as human beings, in your natural falling state, you can never be good. If you give somebody money, that does not necessarily mean you are good. It is only a path to goodness. That is why when a man is not born again, he cannot bear this fruit. The day you give your life to Christ, the day you let the Holy Spirit come into your life, He gives you the power to bring forth the fruit of goodness. That character of God can be displayed in you.
Matthew 19:17 says ““Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Nobody is good but God. That is why sometimes people are surprised when a very loving man who has a very beautiful family, wakes up and murders his wife. Everybody is perplexed because he seemed like a very good man. But this goodness only comes from God. And as children of God, you have to exhibit this goodness.
What is goodness? The Greek word for goodness is agathosune. It means “being kind, good, virtuous, generous, benevolent, liberal, or to be somebody full of blessedness. Goodness is so big that there is no one word to describe it. Faith is just to believe. But goodness is so big that it touches on all the virtues of life. When somebody is good, all the virtues of life will be displayed in his life. It only comes from God.
How did God show goodness? One of the first ways that you can show goodness is to develop the character of God. When a man is good, when you bear the fruit of goodness, you show the character of God. Exodus 34:5-6 says, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” When God descended, He revealed Himself as a good God. From the beginning of creation, the Bible said that everything He did was good. When Adam and Eve sinned against Him, He was still good to them. The story of Israel actually shows the goodness of God and how He never gives up on His people. He still seeks you even if you keep on running away from Him. Romans 5:5-8 says “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous personal , though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The goodness of God is to love somebody even though they do not deserve it. The goodness of God is what pushes you to show kindness to somebody and never expect anything in return. Many times, people do good because they are expecting something in return. But when you bear the fruit of goodness,you do good because you are a child of God. You do good not because a person is good to you but because it is your character. You do good not because you want anything in return but because that is who you are. God does not need you for anything, but you need God for everything. Inspite of all your mistakes, he still loves you. The Bible says you love because God first loved you. Goodness is to show love even when that love is not reciprocated. Goodness is to show kindness even if you know you will not get it back.
Matthew 5:43-45 says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” It is God’s grace and goodness that has kept all of you. God does not deal with you according to your sins. God deals with you according to His goodness and graciousness. He is not only doing it because you are serving Him. That is why you may find wicked people to be very healthy and prosperous. It is because of the goodness of God. When you bear the goodness of God, you also show that kind of love. That character of the Father is in you.
Live like Jesus. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” When you bear the fruit of goodness, you do not look at yourself only. You go out of your way to take others into consideration. God could have easily just let the human race go their own way, sinning left and right, but He sent His only begotten Son to die for you and me because He was thinking about us. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” When you bear the fruit of goodness, you lay down your life for other people. Problems will remain as long as you are on earth but that must not stop you from reaching out to care for others. When you step out of your comfort zone to help somebody else, you exhibit the goodness of God. The story of the Good Samaritan shows God’s goodness in so many ways. The Samaritan stepped out of his prejudice to help someone who was like an enemy to him. When you have the fruit of goodness, you step out of your safe place and put yourself in a position of difficulty.
Be a blessing to others. When you bear the fruit of the Spirit, many things will be overcome. You will have happy marriages and good relationships. You will not need a lot of payers topics and deliverances. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is a great weapon to have in life. Imagine if husband and wife decide to be a blessing to each other; then their marriage will be very good. If you decide to be a blessing to your neighbor, the world will be a better place. Decide in your mind that you will allow the Holy Spirit to work in you so that you can be a blessing to other people. Luke 10:33 says “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took compassion on him.” The goodness of God will allow you to have compassion for others. It will make you care more for other people. When a mother sees her child in danger, there is a compassion that arises from the mother and she puts her life on the line to save her child. When her child is hungry, she will go out of her way to feed him even if she herself goes hungry. When Jesus saw the multitude, the Bible says that He was moved by compassion. What made Jesus heal people, raise them from the dead and become a blessing to them? It was compassion. Acts10:38 says, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” You must not be a source of concern but be a source of blessing.
The Bible says you are the light of the world and you must make your light shine. When Paul encountered Barnabas, all the believers despised him because he persecuted them. The Christians were afraid of him. But Barnabas took Paul under his wing and introduced him to the believers, leaders and elders of Antioch. Paul was then received because of that, and his ministry and his life was changed. In the same way, when people encounter you, because of the fruit of the Spirit in you, their lives must change. Galatians 6:10 says “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Do good. Be a blessing to somebody. Galatians 3:7 says “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” And who is Abraham? God promised Abraham that through him, the nations of the world will be saved and blessed. As a child of Abraham, people must be blessed through you. Your life will be a blessing to people when you bear the fruit of the Spirit. Their life will change and will never be the same again.
Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Goodness is never complete without pointing people to Jesus. It is good to give people money and food. You can be kind to someone. But everything must always point to Jesus. This kind of fruit can only be born in people who are submitted to Jesus Christ. Because your life will point them to Jesus. God is the only source of goodness. Point them to Him.