I’m taking a few extra posts to look at the Fruit of the Spirit. The next one to see is goodness. As with the others, goodness is not merely about being good.
Just to remind you, all of these fruits are the result of cultivating our spiritual walk. It’s time spent with the Holy Spirit that causes these to grow in us.
We can’t just go by society’s definition of the word. What’s important is how God defines it and uses it in Scripture.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…
In this verse, Paul talks about bearing the fruit of goodness. But what we find is that he prayed for something that needed to happen first. What was required for the Colossian people to walk in goodness?
Paul tells us in the previous verse.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
In order to walk in the fruit of goodness, you must lay hold of the knowledge of God’s will for you. That will never come through your own human intelligence. You must tap into the wisdom and understanding that only come through the Spirit.
In other words, if you’re not hearing from God, then there’s no way you can do good – at least by the Lord’s definition. To God, doing good is doing His will.
Jesus described this very thing in one of His parables. At one point He described the Word of God as the seed planted in many different types of soil. The seed in good soil flourished and produced an abundant harvest.
Listen to how Jesus explained this parable to His disciples.
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
According to Christ, there are three distinct activities that are a part of a good heart – a life that consistently produces goodness. The first is the most important, and that is to hear the Word of God. If you’re not hearing the Word, then you can never go on to produce the fruit.
The second part is just as important. Once heard, you must retain it. That literally means that you hold fast to it, you lock it down into your heart. This means that you meditate on it. You rehearse it and think about it until it becomes second nature to you.
The third thing that has to happen is that you continue holding fast to that Word. This requires perseverance. Day after day; month after month; even when it doesn’t look like anything is happening in the natural.
Then, as we remain in the Word of God, that change begins to take place and we receive an abundant harvest. The Greek phrase for producing a crop is that we become fruit-bearing.
I don’t know how anyone who reads these verses can say that to bear the Fruit of the Spirit you just need will-power. That won’t get you anywhere. The fruit can only be produced by the Holy Spirit working in you.
Do you want to produce what the Father describes as good works? Then spend time in the presence of the Lord with a listening heart, then guard that word, and allow the Spirit to bring them forth in you.
Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s goodness operating through you?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017