Fruit of the Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit – Goodness

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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any fruits of the Spirit become obvious after even a short time of knowing their source. For example, I can attribute much of what I call Love or Self-Control to Jesus’ work in my life. Some of the fruits of the Spirit are more nuanced. They seem to show up in many people’s lives and seem more common. Take Goodness. I have met many good people; some of them far from knowing God in any meaningful way, and yet there they are, being good to those around them. It makes me wonder then, what is different in me? Is my goodness just a positive side of humanity, or is there some real work occurring in my heart, a facet of my soul being remade into God’s likeness? I would like to propose it is the latter.

A while back I had left my home and went to Ireland to join an organisation dedicated to reconciliation in conflict countries. I had saved diligently to carry me through the next few months and pay for accommodation and any bills that might arise. I found out soon enough that other trainees were from other countries and some of them had felt this was the place the should be, regardless of the cost.

After a few months it was time to put our knowledge to work and visit another conflict country. At that point I learned one of the other students was short the funds necessary to complete the trip. I wondered why they would plan so far ahead and yet not prepare adequately? Then, a peculiar feeling came over me. What if I gave my savings to pay for their trip, to help them finish what that felt called to start? I pondered for a moment the sacrifice I would have to make. I had to count the cost of relinquishing my well planned bank account for a cause that was perhaps greater than my own.

I took my concerns to one of the leaders of the course. I said, ”I’m considering giving all of my savings to another student, but in doing so, I may not be able to pay any of my bills or even finish the course myself. How can I know if this is God speaking to me?”

Her answer will always cling to my mind as the most obvious signs of the Spirit at work.

She said, “Do you honestly think you are that good.”

I was startled by the bluntness of the question and it caused me to pause and ponder.

“No,” I said. “I am not.”

A week later, after much internal deliberation, counting the cost of this newfound goodness, I emptied my well planned bank account and gave all I had to one in need. I gave anonymously and I gave abundantly.

Later that month I found the student had received the gift and was overjoyed to tears. She immediately divided up the sum and sent a substantial portion back home to her family who were in desperate need and equally grateful to God. God, who is a good father and who gives good gifts.

Goodness is not simply a mediocre virtue of humanity, it is a goodness that ends in worship. Worship of a good God showing his goodness.

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