27 July 2012


Goodness:  Being Like God Inside and Out

Elisa Morgan's book: Naked Fruit: Getting Honest about the Fruit of the Spirit

Ms. Morgan uses the example of the strawberry.  "The strawberry wears its seeds on the outside.  With no apologies, this tangy fruit proclaims its nature, sharing it's seeds as it grows."
Good means: what is excellent in character or constitution.  Morally sound...perfection.

The Bible is very clear that none of us is good.  No not one!  That's the whole reason Jesus came to earth to save us because we would try so desperately to do our own thing and fail miserably.

Ravi Zacharias one of my favorite favorite apologists of our time (we went to study under him for two years in a row in 2006 and 2007 in Oxford England at RZIM ministries) once said, "Jesus didn't come to make bad people good, he came to die to make dead people live."
What is it with us humans that tries and tries and tries so hard to be good (religion will kill you!)?  Instead of having a RELATIONSHIP with the one true God who IS GOOD and wants to give us new LIFE in Him.  I think because rules are easy to follow but relationship building takes a lot of work and discipline and it causes us to be vulnerable.  We have to trust that God's way is the best way, not our own way.

Psalm 119:68  "You are good, and what you do is good."
We try to be good but goodness is just natural to God.

I love this quote by Ms. Morgan "God doesn't change.  He's either good when good and bad things happen, or he's not good when either happens.  What changes is our view of God.  When times are good, we see his goodness.  When times are tough it can be hard to see his goodness."
Last time we talked about Kindness...click on Kindness to see last week's post.

Galatians 5: 22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

"Kindness has to do with what we do.  Goodness concerns who we are."

"The goal of goodness is to make us like God.  And God's meeting our needs doesn't always accomplish such an objective.  Just as God is good to give us what makes us happy.  He is happy to give us what makes us good.  His actions consistently push us to the point where we will eventually resemble him."
One example I can think of in my life that taught me goodness of character and helped me to grow and to change me from the inside out was a time when the situation was not good.  But the situation allowed me to be shaped to be more Christ like and without it I would have never ever grown so much in my faith with the Lord.

I was 15 and diagnosed with an aggressive giant cell tumor in the bone of my foot.  It wasn't cancerous but it was so destructive it ate away a huge part of the bone in my foot where my ankle was and caused so much pain I couldn't walk or sleep.  Finally the tumor was removed after a lot of misdiagnosis for months furthering the growth and after the surgery I was home for 6 months recovering.  During my Sophomore year I couldn't go to school.  I was home bound.  My teachers came to my home to school me and test me and keep me up to date.  One thing I did faithfully night and day was pray and read God's word.  I've never read the Bible more faithfully.  It was like I was an empty cistern and just needed to be refilled every day.  The amount of hours I spent pouring over the word, journaling and praying changed me forever.  I think God was using this time as a molding time for me, he was changing me from the inside out, he was pouring his wisdom in me and he was giving me peace comfort and hope during this awful time of me wondering would I ever walk again, would anyone ever marry me a cripple.

Come Junior year, I was able to walk again with a crutch.  I was so scared to go to school with that crutch.  So embarrassed.  I felt everyone would tease me and make fun of me.  I sat on the bathroom floor the first morning of school and begged God to give me one verse to help me through that first day...

Isaiah 41: 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I literally opened the Bible to this page...God was speaking to me and He gave me this verse of comfort and strength.  I took it and boldly went to school and all was well.  But I learned a valuable lesson in those 6 months.  I am nothing without God.  He is my help.  No matter what.  Always I need Him.  And in that one year of being home, surgery and all, therapy, and healing, God changed me for GOOD.  I got to know Him the way you do a best friend.  It wasn't about following rules anymore, it was about loving him and wanting to be more like him.  Am I good?  No way!  But in my relationship with God He is transforming me to be more like His son, because the more time I spend with Him the more I just become like him.  It's the same way with our friendships on earth.  The more time we spend with people with bad attitudes and filthy mouths, guess what, we end up like them! 

Don't be like the wicked teachers in the Bible who only cared about their outward appearance of following religious laws and practices...they were so busy caring about the outside they forgot about being transformed from the inside.  We can all fall into this "works mentality" trap.

"Goodness can't be clothed in superficiality and still be good.  At its core goodness is nakedly good."
In other words, you can't fake it and fool yourself.  You are good because God is making you good.  Or you are not good at all.  And I'm an actress.  I know all about "acting" and "faking it" that was what I studied how to do as an Elementary Education/Theater Major at Rowan University.  God doesn't want us to act it or fake it.  He wants us to be genuine.

Romans 8:28

"And we know that in ALL things God works for the GOOD of those who love him."

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