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LOSS OF 

GOODNESS

PART II

ISSUES OF THE HEART

 

Repeatedly, we learn that genuine kingdom power is measured in goodness. Turning back to our topic on goodness, consider these words from Charles Stanley; “If you tell God no because He won't explain the reason He wants you to do something, you are hindering His blessing. But when you say yes to Him, all of heaven opens to His goodness as A reward for your obedience. What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit.”

     The word “good” is mentioned over 600 times in the Scriptures, more times than even sin and money.   If we look at the Hebrew word for good, towb, it is connected to behaviors such as being joyful, kind, loving, having a merry, and a pleasant attitude. It stems from goodness through deeds, which, in turn, steps up from a gracious heart. Do you see the connection between our inner state of being to our outward ability to be good? 

      Psalm 34:14 reads, “Turn from evil and do good (towb,) seek peace and be peacemakers.”

     Psalm 25:8 it states, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways.”

    Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Additionally, we have these words from Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”     

 

     Jewish thought about goodness touches upon the mitzvoth or commandments of our hearts. Stating that they are far beyond our human capacity to fulfill them. Of course, we cannot succeed without shaking off our deepest fleshly instincts. But as noble as this sounds, true empowerment against the works of the flesh can only be found in Messiah. He alone makes it possible. But it is equally true, often the following repentance, the same sins can creep in? Certain temptations and habits don’t die quickly? 

    We've learned an important principle that 'Goodness' is supernatural, and it always renders a condition of the heart. In other words, goodness doesn't come naturally. Abraham illustrates this beautifully throughout the Biblical narrative of his life.  For good reason, he was selected by God as our forefather of faith. Abraham had a certain quality that caused him to turn his natural evil inclinations toward God. Keep in mind,  d his father was an idol worshiper.   Again, goodness begins with the condition of one’s heart. But without the Lord taking reign in our lives, individual goodness is unreliable at best. It's the difference between winning a sprint or the stamina and consistency needed for a long-distance run. 

 

    Firstly, man's character needs to be transformed, which is only possible through God taking reign; bad-hearted people become good, and evil inclinations are replaced with good desires. Lawless individuals become compliant, and hardened people become tender. These are the good traits that the world is to experience.  Perhaps the Psalmist had this in mind when he wrote in Psalms 34:8 states, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Goodness then always traces back to the motivation of our hearts. But does outward kindness and compassion mean one’s heart is right. Or does it?

 

What inspires such differences? There are two approaches!

TWO

APPROACHES

 

 A rich and famous person can be known for doing good humanitarian deeds, but when they receive the accolades and awards from man, how does this fit into God’s goodness? Take a politician running for office who comes to a community to make a speech. The next day, they run to get the newspapers to see what kind of impression they made. They want to see words of praise. Do they want recognition, or do they want to honor? To a great extent, they want both. They are not only seeking praise but validation from the public. But how does this fit in with God’s view of goodness?     God says: “When you fast, do so in private and make sure that you look refreshed.” (Matthew 6: 16-18) “When you pray, pray in the closet to not look self-righteous.” (Matthew 6:6) “When you give, do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3).  

     In other words, God’s people should not do things for the praise of man; neither do we serve to look spiritual. Here again, we see two kinds of people:  Those who do things for the praise and attention of man, and those that do things for the pleasure and glory of God. 

ROBBERS OF

GOODNESS

If we can discover the robbers of goodness, perhaps we can mitigate these robbers with a greater concert of spiritual powers that were given to us through our Messiah.  Firstly, working against goodness in the House of our Father comes from the prince and the power of the air. Always, he is working against the bride to deprive her of goodness. Secondly, 

     [1] Do we love someone because they love us? 

     [2] Do we help those that only help us? 

     [3] Are we kind to only those that return kindness? 

  What do you communicate about your inner state of being through your actions and behavior? Conversely, what harm have your actions had in the house of our Father? 

 

    Another interesting consideration is that rarely do we consider that goodness originated from the great suffering and sacrifice of our Lord. This goodness that came to us through our Lord, was forged under exceptional circumstances. So, what made our Lord’s suffering so unrivaled in human history? He had the powers of Heaven to stop it. Because of love, he didn’t. No human ever held such power in his hands. No other had such love for us. Anyone else would have marshaled the power of heaven to save oneself. 

   Furthermore, no human on earth was so firmly focused on pleasing his Father and fulfilling the laws of righteousness as Yeshua. Out of this extraordinary crucible of suffering, we became sharers and partakers in this power. It is the power over good and evil. We have the power to be self-controlled, “He who is within me is greater than he who is in the world.” (1st John: 4:4). “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,” states Philippians 4:13. These verses came about because of our Lord’s suffering. A.W. Tozer wrote about the power of choice and explained it beautifully: 

    "There is much truth in the idea that revivals are born after midnight, for revivals (or any other spiritual gifts and graces) come only to those who want them badly enough. It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes; he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.”

    In conclusion, think about these wonderful words:“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 1:5-8).  Let us strive to be unlike the world in every way, so  our good light casts out all ugliness that is so blatant today. 

 

DISCUSSION and STUDY QUESTIONS

 

  •  What do you believe is the greatest struggle to show goodness to each other?

  •  List some examples of the opposite of goodness and what you have experienced through it in the family of God?

  • Can you define Goodness's characteristics and how it relates to “Power.”? Read 2nd Timothy 3 and 2nd Peter 1. 

  • In what ways is goodness related to our testimony as believers? In what ways does our Father receive glory through kindness?

  • Goodness is listed over 600 times in the Bible; list six examples applicable to the New Covenant Family of God. 

  •  Provide six reasons why it is difficult for people to be good?

  •  Provide six quality traits that you see as a good character?

     

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