What is Goodness? It’s Not What You Think!

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The Faith Project is taking a close look at goodness. It is not the same as obedience. So, what exactly is goodness? You might be surprised.

I think my parents would say that for the most part, I was “a good girl” growing.”

Whew!

Don’t we want our children to be “good.”

But what does being good really mean?

If you’re like me, you think “being good” equals being obedient. Isn’t that what you’re looking for when you tell your children to “be good.”

Obedience.

And when I chose the word goodness for the month of August, that’s what I thought I’d be writing about.

Oh yippee! A month talking about Jesus following obedience.

If a month of looking at all the ways you’re falling short when it comes to following Jesus well makes you want to run screaming from the room . . . you can, like me, breathe a sigh of relief.

Goodness is not a synonym for obedience.

It’s okay, you can admit you’re just a little relieved.

But if goodness isn’t obedience then . . . what is goodness?

It’s listed among the Fruit of the Spirit; however, it’s not something we talk about often. It’s just easier to talk about joy, love, patience, kindness, and faithfulness.

The problem may be that goodness somehow seems relative. My idea of what is good may be very different from yours.

But God is not relative! And neither is goodness.

The list of synonyms for goodness is – moral, virtuous, competent, useful, reliable, kind, authentic, and beneficial, but not obedient or obedience. 

So, like the other words we’ve studied together:

  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Wisdom
  • Prayer
  • Humility
  • Patience
  • Stillness

It’s possible you and I have a limited view of goodness.

Let’s start digging deep into the word “goodness,” like we have with every word . . . let’s look up. Let’s begin with our relationship with God.

Goodness and obedience are not synonyms. So, what exactly is goodness?

What is Goodness?

You’ve heard the expression – God is good! We say it all the time, but what does it mean?

The Greek word for goodness is – agathosune, ἀγαθωσύνη, pronounced (ag-ath-o-soo’-nay).

It is defined as – intrinsic goodness, especially as a personal quality, with the stress being on the kindly (rather than the righteous) side of goodness. (Strong’s Concordance)

God is good because:

  1. He is perfect and righteous – it is who He is.
  2. He is kind – it is what He does.

Everything God made is good.

God looked at everything He had made, and it was very good.  Genesis 1:31

God’s promise of a Savior is good.

I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite His heel.” Genesis 3:15

Kings declared God good.

Praise the Lord! Thank the Lord because He is good. His love continues forever. Psalm 106:1

Prophets declared God good. 

Tell these people to come to me. Let them talk about these things together. Who told you long ago that this would happen? Who told about it long ago? I, the Lord, said these things. There is no other God beside me. I am the only good God. I am the Savior. There is no other God. Isaiah 45:21

God revealed His goodness in and through Jesus.

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them.” Luke 19:10

This is how God showed His love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through Him. 1 John 4:9

God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. Ephesians 2:4–5

God is at work doing good in your life and mine.

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan. Romans 8:28

Everything God does is good.

Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. James 1:17

God, I will thank you forever for what you have done. With those who worship you, I will trust you because you are good. Psalm 52:9

God is good – it is who He is and what He does. 

Simply put – God is good because everything about Him always has been and always will be good, and because everything He has ever done or will ever do is good. 

You and I can stand with kings and prophets and boldly proclaim – God is good!

Look at that verse at the top of the list again –

God looked at everything He had made, and it was very good.  Genesis 1:31

Everything!

That means you!

You were created in His image and that means:

  • You are good simply because He made you.
  • You are able to do good because His Spirit living in you makes it possible.

Your Heavenly Father is good and He shows His goodness through His kindness (grace and mercy).

The Faith Project is taking a close look at goodness. It is not the same as obedience. So, what exactly is goodness? You might be surprised.

Beth Moore wrote the follow about goodness in Living Beyond Yourself:

“Kindness and goodness are complementary aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. Without kindness, goodness becomes harsh and self-righteous. Without goodness, kindness becomes indulgent tolerance. Only the Holy Spirit can balance and grow these essential qualities in our lives.”

God is righteous and God is kind.

He must punish sin because He is good (perfect righteousness). But because He is kind, He sent Jesus to take our punishment for us.

I can’t wait to sit with Him and dig deep into His Word this month and find out more about goodness. Goodness in my relationship with God and how it might look in my relationships with the people He puts around me.

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14 thoughts on “What is Goodness? It’s Not What You Think!

  1. I love how you’ve removed “goodness” from the usual interpretation of “obedience,” Deb. I heard that “good girl” stuff too much growing up and equated it with obedience just as you did.
    Yes, our God is good, all the time! Looking forward to this next series.
    Blessings!

  2. Amen! This is my first time visiting your blog. I really enjoyed reading how we as Christians continue to encourage one another; but sometime we have to encourage ourselves.

    Please continue to look up, to the Heavens where all our help comes from Jesus Christ!???

    Keep up the great Divine Work,

    May God Bless,

    Kathleen Caldwell
    Your Sister in Christ

  3. I’m always seeking more information on God’s goodness. This is a wonderfully refreshing perspective on how goodness is NOT obedience for us, but something the Holy Spirit can work in us. I want to not only pursue the fact of God’s goodness in my own mind, but the goodness of God working in my heart!

    Great thoughts, friend!

    1. I love how you said that, Ruthie! “God’s goodness working in my heart!” Amen! That’s surrender to Him! I want that! Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  4. From one word study lover to another-bravo! I really enjoyed learning the inside of a word we think we all know. Thank you, Deb.
    I’m visiting from #SittingAmongFriends. Have a blessed day. ?

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