By Auntie Em, Contributing Writer
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” ~ Galatians 5:22 NIV
As Christians, all of us have the Holy Spirit of Christ living in us and His power available to us. If we are fully surrendered to Him, there should be evidence of it, and one of the most obvious signs is the presence of the fruit of the Spirit.
Ever since I finished April’s post on patience, I’ve been pondering the fruit of GOODNESS. Kindness was just listed as a Fruit of the Spirit– what is the difference? I read a few blogs and commentaries, I began to get the idea that the Fruit of goodness refers to God’s character displayed in us.
… Jesus answered, “None is good but God.” Mark 10:18
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share. 1 Timothy 6:18
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
How do we show God’s character? When we practice agape love: Giving, sacrificing, showing kindness, patience, forgiveness when a wrong has been done. In the context of marriage, the other fruits are ones that we practice toward each other. As I’ve prayed for direction on this, I’ve gotten the idea that GOODNESS faces OUTWARD.
When we exhibit the Spirit’s Fruits toward our spouses, we build strong marriages. Then they become the home base from which we can do good works and show God’s agape love to others. We start with tithing to our church. Then we take advantage of other opportunities to share our time and money: giving to special offerings– our church supports our local community outreach center and Christian Women’s Job Corps, as well as our denomination’s home and international missions. (There’s the old joke– Haven’t we paid old Lottie Moon off YET??) I occasionally am able to provide food for funerals of church members, and make cookies for Bible school and mission trips.
Because if we keep all God’s good gifts to ourselves, we’re not really doing what God told us to do, are we? They’ll know we are Christians by our love, (John 13:35) and God then draws people to Himself with His unfailing love. (Jeremiah 31:3)