Fruit of the Spirit: Day 8

Goodness

by

Today's Text: Psalm 23:1-6, Psalm 31:19, Matthew 12:33-37, Ephesians 5:6-10

... for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth...

- Ephesians 5:9, HCSB -

I was always a good kid.

Ask my parents and I think they’d tell you, I was a joy of a daughter to raise. (Tell ‘em, Mom!) I never really gave any trouble when it came to boys, I had absolutely no interest in the shenanigans of drugs or alcohol, I was an excellent student, great friend, medium athlete and a conscientious includer of people. When we studied the fruit of the Spirit in my high school theology class, “goodness” was one of those fruits I was pretty sure I was nailing—no Spirit necessary for this one, thankyouverymuch. Being good was easy! Just look at how impressive I was!

Ah, the overconfidence of youth. I remember sitting up late one night on our senior class trip to Florida, riding shotgun with the bus driver while the rest of the class slept. We barreled down the highway somewhere between Toledo and Orlando while I flapped my adorable jaw about how I knew everything there was to know about God and the Bible. After twelve years of private Christian education, I really saw no need for further study of Scripture or pursuit of additional spiritual instruction. I was relatively confident graduation would procure for me both a high school diploma and my own personal sanctification certificate, all in one march across the stage.

Darkness.

I was in spiritual darkness. Not because my life showed all the signs of rebellion and bad news, but because my soul had no need for a Savior, or so it thought. I assumed I had saved myself through years of right answers and right behavior. But at 18 years old, my goodness wasn’t enough to save me—it was actually separating me from Christ.

The bus driver that night didn’t tell me all the hundred ways I’d gotten it wrong or laugh me off the bus. It was worse than that—he wasn’t impressed by me. In the honesty of that moment, just two people and a whole lot of highway, all the words I’d served him didn’t return the usual, “Wow, you’re such a great kid!” that I was used to. Instead, he looked concerned. That was new and puzzling for the good girl accustomed to good reviews. We sat quietly after that—me, the bus driver and the Holy Spirit. And God was at work in my “good”/dark heart, revealing a need for Him I’d honestly never noticed before.

It turns out, God wasn’t impressed by me either. The act of goodness, kindness, self-control and so-on that I had perfected (and was sure would save me) was the very thing of which I needed to repent. My acts of righteousness were exactly the bad fruit Jesus warns us about in Matthew 12—produced from the upside down heart of a girl who thought her behavior made her a believer.

Slowly but surely, in the days and months following that night on the bus, the Holy Spirit gave me eyes to see that God wasn’t commanding me to bear fruit to begin with—fruit-bearing was the job of the Holy Spirit. Rather, God was beckoning me to abide in His presence, like Jesus tells His disciples in John 15.

I love the way David talks about God’s shepherd-like presence in Psalm 23. God is near to him—leading and restoring him, even in the valleys. David writes in verse 6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” He understands God’s nearness doesn’t make him good, but that goodness and mercy are always with him because the Lord is with Him. God is good, so the fruit of God’s Spirit, or presence, is goodness.

Friends, whenever we think we can do goodness on our own, we are saying we can be the essence of God without the presence of God. But we can’t! Ephesians 5:8 tells us, “at one time you were darkness.” I was, too. All of us. And we’re learning again and again and again: our self-made fruit does not rid us of our darkness—it doesn’t have that power. Only God can make us light.

Even when we fool the whole world with our goodness, God sees and knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves. May His goodness follow us as we draw near to Him, and may we may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

“Oh, how abundant is your goodness!”
- Psalm 31:19

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  • Omnia Koumi

    This message is describing exactly what I’ve been going through. I’ve been sitting in darkness all this time wondering why it’s so dark. I haven’t called on Him to shine HIS light in my life.

  • Dana Good

    Lord, though words that may sometimes come out of my mouth come from evil, I do not want to be evil. Gut me Lord, scrape out all the dark, gooey, sludge known as fear and guilt and shame so that I may be forevermore filled with your light and bare your fruit.
    Amen

  • Stephanie T.

    Very convicting! Lord forgive me for trying to put forth self made fruits. Only your Presence and your Spirit bring the authentic fruit we so desperately need and need to offer the world. Rid us of all satisfaction from our human efforts and remind our hearts that its only true resting place is abiding with You.

  • Rennae Hageman

    Lord let my heart be full of your love so that the words out of my mouth are of your goodness!

  • Stephanie

    This was so good! Thank you. While praying and reflecting I felt God reveal to me where I needed improvement with this. I always try to be the hands and feet of Jesus and help and pray with people when they reveal their problems to me. But I don’t always pause and invite Him in before sharing “my wisdom”. But if I pause and invite him in, I will be much more effective in sharing HIS wisdom and love. What I have to give is filthy rags in comparison. Glad for this revelation which was much needed.

  • Oh wow I loved that David and the Shepherd example! Thank you so much for this Raechel!

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  • One of the best from this study! Love it. Thankful for this encouragement.

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  • Caroline

    This hit a little close to home. Lord, You know my tendency to rely on the goodness within myself–remind me that the only goodness I need is that which comes from You and You alone!

  • Wow!!

  • Thank you for this. It is easy to think we are right with God when we are acting the “right” way but He wants us to first abide in Him and the goodness and fruits will follow. Lord help me to learn to abide in You today.

  • God,
    You know more then anyone else, I am not good, I am not righteous, and I am definitely not truthful.
    But that’s ok. As Christians we are called to be like Christ, but even you know that is an impossible standard.
    Instead, we must realize that you are indeed goodness, righteousness, and truth, and in knowing that we have become one tiny step closer to being in somewhat a resemblance of your love for us. Thank you for your spirit, always available to me during times of dark thoughts and twisted ankles of faith. You have lifted me up when my bones gave in, and you whispered encouragement when even my breath had failed me. Your hand holds mine in the wind on long car rides, and your word is forever imprinted on my brain. Continue to love and shape me, as I know you only can.

  • akramer4

    I don’t agree.

  • I love that photo at the end, two fantastic things, goodness and mercy just like avocado and mango. They go well together huh? Ha! On a deeper note, no matter how long I’ve been saved I constantly need the reminder that I am not commanded to bear fruit, it is not of my own efforts that this happens but only by abiding in Christ. How often I make time for devotionals to help me bear fruit rather than just focusing on spending time with Christ for the sake of being with Him.

  • This is deep . Much to ponder for sure

  • Wow! Reminded yet again that the fruit comes from the Vine , not me!
    thecomcomeframe

    • Lisa

      Amen! This study has revealed some deep truths in my life. What a blessing!

  • This! This is what I’ve been working on! Thank you, Raechel Meyers! Ever since I downloaded the app I’ve been struggling with this very thing. I’m “good” so why don’t I feel the presence of God in my life? Because I was trying to win my way into heaven without introducing myself and establishing a REAL relationship with the Owner of said residence. Thinking I could walk right in to someone else’s home without even getting to know the Guy who made it all happen. Goodness, kindness, all the good things that I want to be, are a gift from God. And not given because I’m independently amazing, but because I honor God and “submit to Him in all things.” I am so grateful for this app, for this awakening, and for such a merciful and loving Savior!

    • She Reads Truth

      Chay, we love having you in our community! Thanks for joining us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I keep thinking of GMO fruit as I read this, lol! We’re trying to get around the presence of God and just make the fruit ourselves which is so sad and backwards from his perspective I’m sure!

  • This women shares me testimony.. Forgive me Lord.

  • debburrow

    Oh gracious God, forgive me for all the years I believed I could live by a checklist of good and evil to attain salvation. My salvation is in You, Lord. Any goodness in me is You. Thank you for the graciousness you showed me while I was in darkness. Thank you for opening my eyes. Thank you for abiding in me. I love you Lord.

  • this is my testimony too. It’s so good to be reminded in someone else’s words, and to have new revelation that I need to always stick closer to Jesus than I do to all my “goodness”

  • Rachel, there is a term I saw used in a review of the spiritual status of a failing church that describes you at 18 : “intellectualized faith”. It means that a person can quote the Bible, goes to church, sits on committees, attends prayer meeting, yada, yada. BUT they are prideful in their knowledge and deeds. They have lost humility and can no longer successfully promote the Word through their actions or words. You grew and matured, now you serve with humility and a heart open to learning. God is good!

  • Amanda Hildebrand

    Wow. I loved this. I have alwaus been a fairly good girl and I’ve been very proud if that too. And I became proud. I started feeling better then othes. I read my Bible very much, & I started feeling like I knew everything. Then one day I came home from a class, and I just sat down and I realized I was not that smart I was pretty stupid. I’m dumb for thinking that I would that I knew everything. That was one of the days where I felt the dumbest and lowest person on this planet. But God use that to humble me and I have had a hunger and thirst and the new passion for God’s word again. Because I don’t feel like I know everything. I know there is so much more to him again.

    I now understand that I need to be humbled to be good.

    • Alexis

      :-) you made me smile! Now you are a true Christian, humble instead of prideful, a mind open to growth in His word and a soul open to all. Now your example will bring others to Him.

  • Livvy Boeck

    I have a question…if Jesus died for our sins and they are forgiven, why do we have to give an account of “every careless word” we have spoken? I thought Jesus wiped out slate clean? Any sources for what this judgement will be like?

    • Chris

      This particular verse is referring to the Pharisees. What it means is careless speech that denounces Christ such as that of the Pharisees. This type of careless speech shows a man’a true heart.

    • Nikki Falvey

      Livvy, that is a really good question. From my understanding, the future judgement of believers is not a judgement of possible condemnation—we have been saved from that possibility by Jesus’ work on the cross—but is a time when we give account for our post-salvation actions/thoughts/words to determine our status in heaven, where it seems like there will be a hierarchy of positions and responsibilities. It’s like the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 26:14-18, where different levels of responsibility are given to people based upon their abilities. Both of the wise servants (believers) are rewarded, but at different levels. This website is a good reference for questions like this: https://carm.org/dictionary-judgment. I hope this helps!

  • Wow… Loved this devotional! Thank you…. Leaves me with a question to often ask myself … Am I putting a act on or will I allow God to activate Him and His goodness in me…? So good!

  • On the other hand I’m still on a journey and have so many questions… One that confuses me the most is why did God created us imperfect with capacity for so much evil? Why are we sinners by default? Can anyone suggest a source for more information on this topic?

    • Sylvia Miller

      God created us with a free will (meaning we can make a choice). When Adam sinned in the garden (seen in Genesis), that brought sin into the world. Now because we all come from the line of Adam, we are born with a sin nature. Because we have that sin nature God has given us an opportunity to choose to follow Him or to stay in our sinful life without knowing God as our personal Savior.

    • Christine

      AlwaysBeReady.com is so helpful with info about questions on faith and knowing why you believe what you believe and helping answer the questions like why is there suffering in the world etc.

    • Courtney W

      I think C.S. Lewis wrote a book, or books, about this if your searching for a thorough discussion.

  • Wow the devotional story just spoke to me! The whole time I was saying “yes this was me too!”. And oh how wrong I was thinking that I am so righteous and don’t need God. One day though I got so far from God that I no longer had an internal compass to guide me, and I fell hard and mate a lot of horrible choices that I regret… I was paralyzed by shock and fear of how deeply evil was rooted in me. But glory to God he is so merciful and forgiving that he haven’t left my side and welcomed me back with arms wide open. Every day I am amazed at his goodness and all the blessings he showers me with even after the crooked path I’ve been on…

  • Kasey Summers

    Raechel, this was me too! Pride had captured my heart through high school. It wasn’t until a sequence of events at the beginning of my freshman year of college that the Lord revealed all the sin in my heart. When I realized the actual depths of all my own sin (and the fact that I actually was sin), I had a renewed deeper gratefulness than I’d ever had before for my salvation. Since then, I have to constantly fight against pride and remind myself of the gospel all the time!! Thankful for the Holy Spirit killing the pride in our lives!

  • I can relate all too much to the author, I had boys in highschool singing of my “goodness” (read virginity) “no sex in britt’s room” instead of the champagne room (weird hip hop song) and I was so proud of that. I wore it like a badge of honor. Until that “goodness” was something I gave away and no longer had as a girlscout badge did I realize I wasn’t all that good after all.

    Thank God for second and third and… Chances.

  • Loved this :) For the past couple of years I’ve been focused on producing fruit and how if I was truly in relationship with the Lord, “I” would be producing fruit that others could see. This message opened my eyes to see that they are called the fruit of the “Spirit” for a reason and it really has nothing to do with my actions or behavior but everything to do with surrendering and allowing the Holy Spirit to move and work through me.

  • I can see the darkness I lived in in the past for sure. Unlike today’s author I struggle finding the goodness in myself. God is good all the time! But I don’t feel like I am walking in the light like he intended me too. What does it look like to walk in the light? How does it feel to walk in the light? Produce in my oh Lord only what is good right and true!

  • Growing up my dad always told us that just like babies we were being spoon fed spiritually by him during our daily family devotions. He said one day you will have to feed yourselves and you will have to choose to do so on your own . I wish I had picked up that spoon so much sooner. In fact there are times I put my spiritual life on hold and just took a sip here and there to just maintain . My goodness on its own not from God was so mangled and painful. It was selfish and needy and sad.
    So thankful for this wonderful reminder of its not me but He. What an incredible thing it is to be a daughter of our savior.

  • Antimony

    So good at the external stuff. The “good works”. Raised that way. Talk that way without even thinking twice. Sometimes I listen to myself talk and think, “wow! I really sound like I believe all of this!” Belief is the hard part for me. Trust in who He claims to be. Belief that He would love ME. And die for ME when, at the same time, He claims to know ever little thing about me. For the world? Yes, definitely. For me? Just can’t “get there” in my head/heart.

    • Emily

      I’ve been struggling with that too. I think it takes prayer. No bells and whistles, just a vulnerable, honest conversation with God. He not only sent His son to save you, He wants to develop a deep and personal relationship with you!

  • Oh, Rachael, finally the words you wrote put into perspective how I have felt…”I was in spiritual darkness. Not because my life showed all the signs of tattoos and bad news, but because my soul had no need for a Savior, or so it thought. I assumed I had saved myself through years of right answers and right behavior. But at 18 years old, my goodness wasn’t enough to save me—it was actually separating me from Christ.”

    I believe sometimes for those of us that were raised from birth in the church and came to know our savior early we fall into a complacency that stills or dampens our “joy”.

    Thank you for you insightful, thoughtful words.

  • Jennifer

    Loved today’s message. It spoke volumes to my own legalistic tendencies. I have been there myself and when I’m not abiding in the Spirit it is so easy for me to get carried away with my own “goodness” and self-righteousness. I’ve been convicted in recent years about my misconceptions of God’s grace and my previously failed attempts to earn it. I see now that that attitude was spitting on the cross and my Savior- the only One who can save. The Holy Spirit revealed himself to me through His word and also through the book: “Jesus + nothing = everything”. Thanks for sharing, Raechel. God bless all.

  • Oh yes this is a very good reminder today. Abiding in Christ and sitting at his feet in reception. Because he is good, we can trust him. All sovereign and all good. Wow I’m glad he’s both of those!!!

  • I do not think that tattoos necessarily deem you bad news. In fact a pastor at my church has tattoos, I guess that part really bothers me that Christians believe that tattoos and Christ and/or the church, cannot mix.
    I disagree. Daniel and Joseph were both high officials within the Persian and Egyptian empires and are both stated to have been dressed and accustomed to the culture they were living in. Does it say they have tattoos specifically? No, but based on what we know it’s not far off to speculate that both possibly had tattoos, as both the Persians and Egyptians were part of the first civilizations to practice the art of tattooing.
    God knows the heart, Jesus knows the spirit that’s what’s important because at the end of the day it’s not about ME & YOU it’s about US & God.

    • shereadstruth

      Hey, Lauryn! You're absolutely right! I totally get what you're saying and I apologize that the way it came across offended you! I used those words because I liked the way they sounded together and to sort of laugh at my young self for the things I saw then as "bad news". Totally agree – tattoos do NOT equal bad news! ;)
      Grace and peace, Raechel

  • Journey of Faith

    So good, we all have the same need, type a and b personalities :) to sit at His feet first and let the fruit flow out of us because of his working

  • Wow! Thank you so much for this! I really needed to hear this today!

  • Julie Fay

    “The Lord is my shepherd nothing I lack ” – what a simple profound truth. When I have on the whim desires and ‘fulfill’ them without thinking I get into the instant gratification mode and forget that what I truly need is discipline to see how He shepherds me- how his presence is with me and nothing I do can fulfill but Him. no thing I lack. ‘Help me wake up to Your voice calling me out and help me give my day to you.’ Open hands.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks Rachael for such an honest testimony. I think we’re all guilty of trying to cultivate our own goodness. Especially if you were raised in the church. Thank you for reminding us that goodness and mercy is a gift from God just like grace.

  • Brooklee

    Rachael,

    I really appreciate your testimony and find your insights valuable. However, your mentioning of tattoos troubles me. I totally respect that you are entitled to your own opinion of tattoos, but I just think that it is important that you realize that making tattoos out to be so bad as you have in this entry will offend your readers who have tattoos and/or love people with them. Just something to remember. Thanks.

    • Raechel

      Hey brooklee! Honestly, you make an excellent point! I used those words because I liked the way they sounded together and to sort of laugh at my young self for the things I saw as “bad news”. I’m so sorry if I offended- certainly didn’t intend to! Grace and peace, Raechel

      • Gillyan

        I was going to comment about the tattoos part as well, but I think this is an excellent answer! Love your blog, Raechel.

      • Brooklee

        No problem and no hard feelings, Raechel (and sorry about spelling your name wrong at first)! Thanks for understanding and for your great response. Like I said, I really appreciate your honesty and love what you had to say as a whole! God bless!

    • Drea

      Raechel,

      Everyone is not mature like us so you have to remember that some of your audience is babes in Christ and unbelievers. It sounds like you’re blaspheming Holy Spirit “—no Spirit necessary for this one, thankyouverymuch.” Yes these were thoughts from your past but you’re posting it today as a believer and it can be misconstrued. Everyone except Raechel, please respect my opinion and not comment to my feelings regarding what has been impressed upon my heart! Thank you!

  • Have you ever been on a country road caught behind the manure spreading truck? Well if not, let me just tell you that it's not pretty and it smells horrible. Now keep this image in your mind, only it's our lives in that stinky truck, and all our filthy stench is leaking out (yup sometimes the liquid manure comes splattering on the windshield.), and then think of God's goodness and mercy fallowing behind us. OUCH!

    My life is just one big smelly stench if I'm not saved by His grace and walking plugged into Him daily. The moment I take my eyes off from Christ — His goodness, I'm afraid I'm spraying my nasty sin on the One that wants nothing more than to follow me with His Goodness and Mercy.

    Conviction!

  • anabellino

    "whenever we think we can do goodness on our own, we are saying we can be the essence of God without the presence of God"
    That sentence was just what I needed! It's so easy to think of goodness as works instead of a gift from the Holy Spirit. That just changes the whole game!

  • thekholtz

    I remember one of the most sobering pieces of guidance I had ever been given by one of my spiritual mentors was right before I went to college. She had told me "The parts of your life that you believe you have under control are going to be the things that Satan will use to attack you." This couldn't be more true. Even having this knowledge and wisdom imparted onto me, I still was harshly attacked by the enemy. He attacked my family life, the part of my life that had always been the most stable, and ripped it to shreds. I, too, had always grown up the "good girl"… being perceived as a good person was never something I thought I needed to work on until I was completely kicked to rock bottom and made some unwise choices. It took years until I finally could admit to myself that I couldn't only rely on myself or my "good girl" attitude to get back to a place of bearing the fruits of goodness, kindness, or love – I needed to turn back to God. It is truly only because of him that I was able to fully experience peace and joy in my life once again!

  • This reminded me today of a branch on a tree. I work in my yard a good bit..pruning and keeping up with all the growth of our trees.

    The branch does not STRIVE to bear the fruit…it just ABIDES in the tree…it's job is to stay connected to it…THE LIFE is in the tree–Christ.
    Once you cut off a branch, it will fall to the ground & eventually die…so it is with us and Christ—When we stay connected to Him, He–Christ bears the fruit in our lives…we only need to abide…to stay connected… the fruit then comes, easily.

    Great devotion today! Thank you, ladies and thank you, Jesus.

  • I have been loving the Fruit of the Spirit study. I have really been struggling this week though. I ask for prayer. I feel like I do such a bad job at displaying these fruits to the world. I have had a rough year, and have lost a lot. I have felt alone and confused and hurt. I have struggled in relationship and feel like I am just not understood. This leads me to sadness and anger. Then I get frustrated again with myself because I feel like I have become completely self focused and prideful and we all know that’s not good!!! I feel like I am in this awful cycle and I just want to live free in Him!!! I want to bring glory to His name in all that I say and do! I want the fruits of the Spirit to flow out of me as a result of my abiding in Him. I want to live in His power and be confidant of who I am as His daughter! Thank you for listening to me this morning. Thank you for your prayers.
    Blessings to you all.

    • Beverly

      Saying a prayer for you, Missy. I pray that God will wrap His loving arms around you, and give you the strength to choose a new way, His way. Hugs to you, sweet Missy.

    • Crystal

      Missy,
      I hear you and I understand. I felt the same that I want this and I want that. Yet God gives freely and the Holy Spirit lives in you and me, and everyone. It’s when you surrender to the Holy Spirit that everything starts to happen. We are not able in our strength, but with God, in God and through God we are able to be the light and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

      With strangers I am kind yet with my family, I am not. It’s easy for me to have an attitude and just let my raw feelings show to my family, yet the Holy Spirit is kind to all. For example, my mom the other day asked how I made some green beans and I had already told her a week ago, usually I’d say don’t you remember I told you when. BUT I learned that whether she remembered or not, she was asking me in that moment and all I had to do was answer the question kindly and tell her how I made it. I caught myself in that moment and responded kindly instead of reminding her of the past. That was the Holy Spirit working in me because I’m used to being a certain way but I knew my way wasn’t God’s way and I chose to surrender to Him. Let the Holy Spirit work in you and listen to His guidance. God bless you!

      • Leah Dahl

        I am like this too, particularly with my mom. Great reminder… Goodness is NOT being impatient and quick to anger/annoy.

  • My testimony. Thank you for sharing!

  • Its so evident that this is exactly what I’ve been needing to hear. The series we are in at church goes right along with this thought today. I grew up religious. Taught that we need to look different than the world. That we need to be the light. That I needed to memorize more and more scripture. Never really taught how the fruit comes in our life aside from our own works of righteousness. How freeing it has been to realize that the fruit comes when we abide in Him. He produces it in our lives… So I can stop working my butt off to try to be good enough according to the people around me.

    • Crystal

      Aw, yes, Rachel that is a freeing moment! Let God produce the fruit just abide in Him. No one ever saw a branch trying to make the fruit. The branch abides and the fruit comes. Have a blessed day, beautiful!

  • behavior does not make us a believer- I rejoice that my salvation is not dependent on me!!!!!

  • I love this because it reminds us the Fruit is in His Spirit not us It’s always about not striving to produce but resting in and abiding in Him. Thanks for the reminder this morning and may goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives as we dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

  • In Christ I'm Found

    I love love love the confidence of verse 6. That verse lifts me up like nothing else and reminds me my hope is in God and He is always good.

  • Kelly_Smith

    I still struggle with Pharisaical behavior. I am white-washed. I have been practicing good since birth (I was born at noon on my due date–perfect). It is my art. My dark heart gets exposed when, as Lysa TerKeurst puts it, someone bumps into my happy. When I am no longer in control of my situation or the people around me, my mask falls to the floor. I am exposed as a sinner. Shame rushes in to condemn. The enemy's long, crooked finger points at me accusingly, "You can not do it!" He is right about that; I can not do it. His nasty is directed at the wrong person, though. Because of grace, because of mercy, because of the righteousness of Christ, I do not have to do it. He has done that work for me. While there is no good in me, God is good and He is in me. My focus must shift from practicing good to abiding. The only way I can be the essence of God (even when someone bumps into my happy) is to be in the presence of God.

  • Thank you Rachel for reminding us that "being" good does not save us. My experience as a you woman was exactly that of wanting everyone to see me as a good Christian woman ……and in that was weakness and pride. I fell hard for years until God's love and patience with me showed me all goodness is Him. As you said I was darkness and I am so greatfull God loves me enough to teach me I can be a part of His goodness.

  • In all our flaws of being ‘good’, God is still preparing great things for us…if only we seek out His desires instead of our. Lord Jesus, help us to seek you in every decision and moment of every day. Let YOUR way lead our hearts and minds so we can be filled with goodness only you can grant.

  • As I read Psalm 23, the thought came to me that God is relationally good to us, that Jesus, our shepherd is also good to us relationally. I guess I mean that we can look at his goodness in the context of his relationship to us.

    How many of us are in a relationship with a man that is truly good to us? And even though I am blessed to be, in no way does my husband come close to meeting the desires of my heart. And on the deepest level, The Lord is the only one capable of giving me of the affirmation I crave, pursuing me the way I want to be pursued. It’s Hosea and Gomer all over again. Israel and God, the woman and the well and Jesus. Me. Beloved of the lamb. Our Goodness comes from realizing and resting in his. Finding that there is nothing more to add. Rejoicing in His love, his mercy over me. This is goodness.

  • Not by my acts of goodness. By His fruit. Thank you.

  • I can relate, to a degree, with those teenage years. Those years were harsh ones for me. I had spent my earlier years being exactly that "good" girl. Grew up going to church and knowing my parents loved Jesus, but we never had great conversations about Him and the clarity of who I was to Him evaded me completely. I just figured, as you did, being good, doing good was what it was about….. the "me" stuff. Soooo when Junior year came and those wonderful AP Academics, I was stumped. I went from getting things without question, to struggling. What was once a piece of cake became difficult and what I thought defined me, destroyed me. I went from knowing who I was, that good, smart and capable girl, to one who just felt inadequate, un-smart and like she didn't belong. A stranger in her own body, let alone town. This plummeted me into darkness and threw a huge wrench in my perspective of what the "right thing" was. What I was supposed to do. If being good was the answer, then I was done for. I quit trying. Just gave up. Something big changed in me and sent me down a path of destruction that forever altered my life and made me feel even *less* than I already did. The "good" in that? Over the course of two and a half long years, I met Jesus. For myself. Alone. On my on rough walk, He came to me and told me who I really was…His daughter, one treasured and loved despite herself. He saved me from myself and brought me out of the muck and set me on HIS path of righteousness, not my own. He corrected my direction, my way, my thinking, my heart and shown the light for me, He pointed me towards Him.

    My prayer daily is that I remember Ephesians 5:8 "You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it!" May I no longer fall in measuring myself by my standards of righteousness or unrighteousness, of goodness, but instead God's. May I move in His way for my life and not others', May I see that HE *is* goodness and that even in the Valleys, in ALL of the valleys, just as in the early days and those since, He will never leave me! ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Yes! He is goodness and in ALL of the valleys will never leave! AMEN!

    • Beverly

      "…what I thought defined me, destroyed me." I can so relate to this (and other pieces of your story). For most of my life, I've been a performer and a perfectionist. These aspects have led me into some initially good opportunities, most of which have evolved into very painful, hurtful times. Mostly because I am not myself when I am performing or perfecting. I am doing what and being who everyone else needs me to be. But I feel it is through the falling apart of these not-so-great-after-all identities that God is drawing me closer to Him. That He is urging me to come to Him, with my whole heart, He created me and loves me just as I am.
      Goodness. His goodness. Through these times, He shows me His goodness through His protection, His provision and His tender care and patience. He is so good.
      Thank you for sharing with such raw honesty, B. It is a comfort to know we are not alone in our struggles and growing pains.

      • Angela

        Your post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes in Bob Goff's book, "Love Does".

        "…It's about our pride. He asks if we'll give up that thing we're so proud of, that thing we believe causes us to MATTER in the eyes of the world, and give it up to follow Him. He's asking us, "Will you take what you think defines you, leave it behind, and let Me define who you are instead?""

        • Beverly

          Yes! Thank you for sharing this quote, Angela. It really does come back to pride. Taking Bob’s words to heart this morning.

        • ~ B ~

          Absolutely love that book and Bob Goff! ~ B

      • ~ B ~

        It is a comfort to know we are among others who have also endured in this world isn't it! ~ B

    • Celia

      Amazing honesty. Thank you.

  • Christina

    Totally and completely convicted this morning. The words I speak, being an overflow of the abundance of my heart, are all too often harsh and over-reactive and unloving. I wonder how much of what I do on a daily basis is done in the power of the Spirit vs in my own goodness. Time for self-evaluation and repentance on this end. Thank you!

  • Sarah Jane

    The dog woke me up and I knew sleep would be hard to come by so I read this. Lord, help me feel your presence and continue to gain confidence to share You with my children and husband. amen.

  • carlybenson

    It's great to take time to look at each fruit of the Spirit like this. I think it's easy to read over them quickly and, especially with ones like goodness that seem obvious, not to consider what they actually mean. I realise my initial reaction to goodness is similar to what others have said- it seems bland and uninspiring and kind of boring. As a child I was pretty good but as I grew up I enjoyed the attention that came from being bad, and it seemed like more fun. It also seemed like I was being myself rather than putting on an act. I still wanted to be honest and kind and loving and all those good things but since I was about 10 years old I don't think I'd have described myself as "good" so this is a challenge. I suppose I need to remember it's about growing to be more like God and he is good but he certainly isn't bland or uninspiring or boring. Jesus was good but he also broke most of the rules and challenged people's perceptions of what "good" was. I think this is more the kind of goodness that I can aspire to.

    • Elizabeth

      Amen! I love that. Jesus certainly wasn't bland, and we definitely wouldn't be calling him a "goody two shoes" today because he was (and is) so radical. What a challenge – to stop telling myself I've got the "goodness" portion of the fruit of the Spirit in the bag, and instead work on accepting the presence and essence of God into my life.

      God bless!

  • Another day of 'busyness' but just wanted to stop by and say…

    Good morning…

    Thank you Raechel for this eye opener into the goodness we know as goodness…and how different it is to the fruit of the Spirit Goodness…when we walk, truly with God, and the spirit is in us, the goodness that is is us is Holy Spirit lead…God lead…..A great reminder also that we need the Holy Spiirit in all we do say and are..

    May the Goodness, Grace and Mercy of our God be with you today Sisters…today and throughout your week… Love and hugs, in Christ…xxxxx

  • Hannah, I love your comments & insight about how our understanding is bland & uninspiring. I’ve been contemplating how sad it is that so many of us (myself included) often water down & sanitize the power & truths of God to a “safer” size (dare I say, making God more into our own image) & end up settling for cheap substitutes of the fruits of the Spirit. (For example, how frequently do we as women pat ourselves on the back for our “fruits” which we label as gentleness, love, self control, etc when really what we are actually living out of is fear, conflict avoidance, etc which are fleshly weaknesses rather than Spirit produced fruits.) My prayer is, “God, I give up trying to produce fruit in myself. You are the one who does the work. I will cooperate but ultimately it’s your work. Unleash me to live with boldness & faith & freedom. I don’t want a cheap copy that looks good on the surface but is fragile & empty. I long for a life of depth & fruitfulness that inspires & draws others to You as You work in me!”

    • Sandy

      Hmm, am I exhibiting gentleness and self control or am I just avoiding confrontation? I share your prayer this morning Jami, "unleash me to live with boldness and faith and freedom! A life of depth and fruitfulness that inpires and draws others to You as You work in me." Amen

    • Barbara C

      Beautiful prayer, Jami!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Amen! Amen! Amen!

    • Lisa

      This is so, so powerful. Thank you for sharing your heart, Jami! I am praying for that unleashing for myself as well!

    • Roberta

      Amen!!!!! This is EXACTLY how I am feeling at the moment. I am begging God at this moment in life to prune, mold, & shape me into His likeness even if it hurts. I long to live transparently & intentionally while sharing the gospel. I no longer want to “appear” to be a “good” Christian. I just wanna live with abandon for the Gospel. I deeply desire to be true to myself & God, to further His kingdom. I’m a mess of a person, but I can still be used by Him.

  • melindawatters

    I am filled with, covered in, and followed by the goodness of God. It. Doesn't get gooder than that!

  • This one hit home. Thank you so much for sharing. My story is very similar, and I’m not even 18 yet! As a daughter of parents who expect a lot of me, and one who has grown up in the church, I’m used to behaving a certain way because that’s what I was taught was “good.” For a while, I also thought this was enough to get me to Heaven, and enough to suffice as a relationship with God.

    I absolutely loved the line “God is good, so the fruit of God’s Spirit, or presence, is goodness.” You outlined clearly what the message today was, and I couldn’t agree more.

    Lately I’ve been struggling with recognizing what the true presence of Jesus is and making time to dwell in it. If you could pray for clarity for me, I’d be so grateful.

    Thanks again for the message, I really enjoyed reading it. SRT is an awesome way for me to end my day. <3

  • michelle of LA

    “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” He understands God’s nearness doesn’t make him good, but that goodness and mercy are always with him because the Lord is with Him.
    I love this …………..

    • Shannon H

      Me too, I’m still chewing on this!

      • michelle of LA

        Man God loves us even with our dirty rags . We can't wrap our minds around this type of love and we never will until we see Him .
        Until we are made in His likeness . Thanks Shannon

  • michelle of LA

    Rach I always love your photos and images She Reads Truth uses . Sometimes I look at the photos first . Thank you
    The photos are stylish , chic and just cool.
    Michelle

  • What a powerful testimony! Thank you for sharing. I needed to be knocked down a peg and reminded of this, too. It’s amazing how even doing something for God, when it’s my purest desire, can easily become a stumbling block as I arrogantly wonder if people notice or feel proud of the good work I’m doing. Lord, bring me more goodness and humbleness!

    • Kelly_Smith

      So true, Molly! Pride drowns my goodness more often than I care to admit.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh man, this is so true!

    • Shirley Burkenpas

      This is exactly what I have been fighting against for the last several years! I called it "performance!" Thank you for your truthful testimony…finally I too can see that darkness fade away more & more as I cling to Him…yet seeing now, as for the 1st time with spiritual eyes, how many others are 'trapped', giving more compassion to them than before…Thank God for His Goodness, Mercy, Forgiveness, in Love as His Presence is so wonderful and guiding through His Word and His People….In Jesus Christ….

    • michelle of LA

      Yep I'm like you …… I do a lot of charities and I love giving back but I sometimes in my purest place since want someone to notice that I did it
      I need to be more humble and I'm working on this , but I loved you reading today . Because it's me too . And I'm sure you're a great person :-)

  • Candacejo

    Hit me like a smack in the face when I read "for at one time you were darkness". Not, "You walked in darkness" or "You lived in darkness". But it says YOU WERE DARKNESS. Wow.

    My story is similar, Raechel; You just told it so much better! I had no relationship even though I did all the right things. Participated at church in the youth group and then even young marrieds! Said all the right things, went to all the right places…thought I was "GOOD". But I was deceiving myself…I sure wasn't LIGHT.

    Thank God for Holy Ghost conviction such as you have described! The Lord will convict us and if we will respond He will set us on a path toward relationship where we can truly KNOW Him and become LIGHT as He is LIGHT.

    I appreciate this lesson today. A reminder to check myself NOW and see if I am just playing the part or walking the walk with His power within me.

    Beautiful Monday!! ♥

    • Jennifer C.

      Yes!! This is me too. And I appreciate the reminder that we need to KEEP checking ourselves! Not that my salvation is going anywhere…I'm secure in that. But sometimes on this road of sanctification, that "already" but "not yet" part of our life in Christ, it's easy to get sidetracked into thinking that you've got it down. Praise be to God for His continuous nudging of us!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Self check…..love that!

  • I feel like a big part of the problem is that our definition of goodness is so bland and uninspiring. If you look at the ancient Hebrew definition of goodness, it's a very powerful word. It's about being everything God designed you to be. That's what's going on in Genesis 1:31 where God looks at everything He has made and calls it "good". To my ears, that sounds a little unimaginative. But it serves as a clue about how good "good" really is.
    I love how you contrasted your former definition of good with the goodness that can only be found in the presence of God! true toodness has an element of danger and delight, and it's worth (re)discovering.

    • Kelly_Smith

      "Being everything God designed you to be." Which is impossible apart from God.

    • Rachael

      Thank you for this perspective Hannah – I totally agree that "good" seems bland but not when you think that God called the whole of is creation good!

      • hannah

        Actually I'm realizing we have this problem with most of the fruit of the Spirit. Our culture defines peace as the absence of conflict, good is simply "not bad"' kind is " not mean" etc. There' so much more to each of them! Each existed in creation before their opposite, and they are so much more compelling than their negative counterparts. How can we recover the original power of these words and ideas?

        • Monica

          I love this too, Hannah! Makes me think of Matthew 5:13-14, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is therefore GOOD for NOTHING, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. Ye are called to be the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."

          The blandness of our current definitions of all of the fruits reminds me of salt that has lost its savour. Oh, I pray that this may never be said of us. This is inspiring me to an even more in depth study of all of the fruits. Thank you so much!

          • hannah

            Thanks for pointing out that connection Monica! That's a great insight. It makes me think of how sometimes salt is used to preserve fruit in the Middle East. There's definitely a connection between the saltiness Jesus is calling us to and the Fruit of the Spirit!

          • Monica

            That's cool too! Preserving fruit with salt. Love it! ;-)

    • Katie

      That’s fascinating, Hannah. I’ve never really thought about it but it’s true, the word “good” is quite under-valued and seemingly bland in our society. Oh, to know His authentic, true goodness!

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