A definition from Easton’s Bible Dictionary states that
Goodness “in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19)
When I read what Jesus had to say to a rich young man, the idea of calling myself ‘good’ seems prideful. Can I call myself “good?” Or is it up to others to call me “good?”
If agathosune is “uprightness of heart and life,” perhaps I’m better off letting others make the judgement call. After all, Jesus, in his deity, gave all goodness to God alone. He could have claimed it, but in his humility, he glorified his Father.
As I continue to learn about how the Holy Spirit works in me to produce fruit, definitions from several sources help me to understand. I’m glad that Easton’s dictionary uses verbs like choosing and following because it implies that I must be aware of what’s going on around me.
I also appreciate that, to be considered “good,” I must be deliberate, firm, and persistent. Indeed, Mr. Easton, being “good” is not a mere passive quality. The Spirit leads; I listen; I obey.
Ultimately, the fruit of the Spirit called “goodness,” like each other fruit, is defined by the Holy Spirit himself as he works in us to make us “good.” With the Spirit working in us, we’re able to live a fruitful life. We Love, we exhibit Joy and Peace, we act with Kindness, and we can be Good.
So far, so good.
Be a blessing to someone today.