“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17
I can hear my voice echoing through the ages to my children, and with the voices of other parents, repeating the same admonition… “Now you be good, you hear?” No direction as to what good looks like to the child/children. It is as if ‘good’ is a given. Good is not a behavior we turn off or on. It is an attribute of constancy.
When I read Matthew 19:17, I see that a ‘good one’ is limited to one. Then what is this Goodness – one of the Fruit of the Spirit? What does it consist of? How can we have some of this goodness?
Man, in his mind, creates lists and do’s and don’ts to be good! Soon a self-test on Facebook will appear, listing some of these qualities so the participant can learn how good they are. It isn’t a secret to be discovered, it is a way of life that is chosen.
Wikihow first says, define what being good means to you. Another is to be good for its own sake. Find a guide and learn. Give others the benefit of doubt. Be a guide for others…Delight in goodness. Be proactive.
Then came another list of how to….have a motivation for being good, trick yourself into being good, having people to look up to, count blessings, and the last one – wash your hands. Huh?
Someone once said, Don’t be good for nothing! In other – Choose the One, our Lord God, Who created us…implanting eternity in our hearts, who created us to have a daily walking-talking relationship with Him and His children. He made a way for us to be Good, through His Goodness in sending Jesus to be a sacrifice for our ‘ungoodness’. God lets us choose Him because of His Great Love.
The other day I saw a small yellow butterfly sitting on a spike of purple flowers. It didn’t move, except for an occasional flutter of its wings. I wondered if the closed wings hid glorious color. I waited, all I saw were black markings inside and the thought that in this life on earth, we see glimpses of God, Heaven, and eternal life if we watch closely.
We long for the glorious beauty of the goodness of Heaven. On the Lord’s Day, standing in the foyer after the service, I listened to the voices of my brothers and sisters I don’t know yet. I felt that this is like Heaven, no fear, no concern, just God’s goodness given by the Holy Spirit enveloping me like billowing clouds in the sky. Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus have a relationship with God and each other because of the Goodness of Love. This relationship is not bounded by distance or time but lives on in eternal goodness.
Suddenly a reminder comes from a memory on a Facebook - a sister in Christ is remembering the same thing – and there is a sweet eternal connection.
The traits of a good person in another list is – honest in relationships, complements others as deserved, call parents regularly… That is where I stopped, knowing a man-made list can never be devised that measures us to ever compare with God who is Good.
Goodness is made up of kindness, love, gentleness, joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control and patience. These are attributes of our Lord God and Jesus. the Holy Spirit who lives within us when we choose to live with and for God and His Son Jesus, teaches us the beginnings of goodness.
James 4:17 - Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Hebrews 13:15-16 – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
I Timothy 6:18-19 - Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Romans 3:21-24 - But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 - Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Chris Tomlin wrote the lyrics – God is Greater. As I am writing, I am struck by his words and worship Our God as I place these words in my heart…
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us. And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other. Our God is Healer, Awesome in Powers, Our God! Our God!