Bad to the bone?

Can you tell me the name of someone you consider a ‘good’ person? I imagine you could name several and for different reasons. Good people are other-centered, committed to living well, with high principles.  They leave their world refreshed as they pass through it. Somehow ‘goodness’ has become suspect, tainted with self-righteousness, or a surface ‘act’ that is not matched by an inner reality.

Being good is often equated with lack of sophistication.  Goodness eliminates the meanness of being a critic, eliminates the desire to climb to the top of the social heap with ‘smart’ put-downs.  Tragically somehow even within the Church many have been deceived into thinking that real holiness, shown in goodness and kindness, in being faithful and true, is for children and old women. So-called ‘cussin’ Christians are ‘cool.’   The desire to be known as relevant or ‘in touch’ is allowed to overtake the pursuit of goodness.  Yes, in fact, to be known as a ‘good’ person would likely hinder their social acceptance.

God wants us to be good people.

Our primary model in all things is Christ Jesus.  Peter, sent by the Holy Spirit to speak of eternal life to Cornelius, said of his Lord – “Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38, NLT)  Jesus brought hope, light, compassion, kindness to people weighed down by guilt, ignored by the religious elites, suffering hard lives!  He was good

Peter, in his letter, urges us to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness.” (2 Peter 1.5)  The NT Greek (the New Testament’s first language) word he used is ‘arete’ which speaks to living with excellence, aiming to live with virtue. Now there’s a word we do not hear used much, do we? Paul told the early church leaders to teach disciples to “devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” (Titus 3:14, NIV)  The list of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) includes the quality of goodness.  The NT Greek there is ‘agathosune,’ a word that means to be of pure heart.

Are you good? Do you desire to be known for goodness?

Do not confuse a superficial piety with true goodness!  People who work at being better than others, who are extremely aware of the opinions of others and carefully craft each response and word to appear devout, come off as fake.  It’s just an act. Provoke them, tempt them enough and their rigid external controls will slip, exposing a heart that is corrupt.  That is not the goodness of the Spirit.  True goodness comes from the new heart created in us in an encounter with Christ, the Savior, when the Spirit comes into our life and changes us into the likeness of Jesus.

Being good is no act, it is a way of life where love is real, selflessness is constant, faithfulness is life-long, integrity is above question, and service is deep and excellent.  Yet another word about goodness is addressed to us in Titus – “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.” (Titus 3:8, NIV)  That word, “good,” is a translation of yet another NT Greek word, ‘kalos’ meaning  beautiful, worthy, admirable, excellent, and genuine. 

There is so much joy to be discovered in a life of goodness that brings the goodness of God to so many who suffer in poverty, anxiety, under the weight of cruel people’s authority. When we are filled with God’s wisdom we will not follow the way of the pseudo-sophisticate who sins on Saturday night and sings God’s high praise on Sunday morning.  James tells us that we are to show God’s work in us by living a “good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom .” (James 3:13, NIV)

Good people may pass unnoticed. They will not be flamboyant and they will serve without seeking reward. They will love even when it is hard. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did.  Their greatest desire is to hear these words when they stand before their Lord, Savior, and Judge – “Well done, my good servant!” (Luke 19:17, NIV)

Here is a word from the Word. Meditate on it and learn the way of the good.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.

But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants;
day and night they think about his law.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season without fail.
Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper.

But this is not true of the wicked.
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.” (Psalm 1, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)

King Of My Heart

Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh He is my song

Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh He is my song

You are good good oh
You are good good oh

Let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh He is my song

Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh He is my song

You’re never gonna let
Never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
Never gonna let me down

When the night is holding on to me
God is holding on
When the night is holding on to me
God is holding on

John Mark McMillan | Sarah McMillan © Meaux Jeaux Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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