August 02, 2021

Fruit of the Spirit - Part 7

While I'm taking my annual summer break from writing new devotions, I'm sharing this series on the fruit of the Spirit, which was originally published in 2016.

Devotion for the Week...

It's time for the sixth installment of our fruit of the Spirit devotion series! If you missed the previous devotions, click to read the introduction, about love, about joy, about peace, about patience and about kindness. This week we're moving on to goodness. 

Once again, here is our verse for this series: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22,23).

The original word that Paul used for goodness, agathōsynē, means "uprightness of heart and life, goodness, kindness." In planning for this devotion, I immediately thought of this verse, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).

It feels like there is a decided lack of goodness these days. We have all, much too frequently, felt sorrow and disbelief when we heard about the tragedies around the world. There is no denying that 'the pattern of this world' is far removed from the 'good, pleasing and perfect will' of God.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people will never intentionally harm another person, but even still, we all know that it's hard to be truly good. Just spend time with any toddler and you'll quickly learn just how natural it is for us humans to be selfish and mean and demanding. Between raising my own boys and babysitting toddlers belonging to others, I have witnessed many, many tantrums, pokes, pushes, grabs, etc. Toddlers want what they want, right now, and they're not concerned with how that might affect others. That is, in a nutshell, the natural human state, which is why parents have to teach their child to behave like a 'civilized person'. Goodness doesn't come naturally. It has to be learned and it takes effort.

That is why Paul tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. 'Renewing' here carries the idea of a renovation, of changing something for the better. So, the Spirit of God will change our minds for the better, allowing us to be no longer bound to the pattern of the world, but instead to think and act according to the will of God.
The renewing of  our minds is an  ongoing process, bringing us ever  closer to being  like Jesus |
This renewing of our minds is an ongoing process as the Spirit changes our attitudes and behavior in different ways, bringing us ever closer to being like Jesus. Gradually, the more we walk with the Spirit and allow Him to work in our lives, the more we will grow in goodness.

And this world can certainly use more goodness.

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