As I was reading this chapter in the book, an old praise song came dancing through my mind and spilled out into a little praise session. I’ll share the link below but for now here’s the words that are running through my mind as I begin writing today’s devotional –
“God is good, we sing and shout it! God is good, we celebrate!
God is good, no more we doubt it! God is good, we know it’s true.
And when I think of His love for me, my heart fills with praise,
and I feel like dancing. For in His heart there is room for me,
and I run with arms open wide.”(Don Moen, Now Unto the King Eternal)
I have often said that reading God’s Word is like going on a treasure hunt and finding nuggets of gold, so I was excited when Jen opened her third chapter on God’s goodness with an illustration of a diamond park that had a history of people finding valuable diamonds. She goes on to make the point that the Bible offers us “many gems to be unearthed as we read”. Then she draws our attention to the “gem” of God’s goodness and how “the Bible eagerly places it in plain sight – no digging required”. She describes it as the “brilliant diamond”.
The Bible is filled with evidence of God’s goodness. From the earliest days of creation God declares that what He had done was good. “God sees that the light is good, not as an act of recognition, but as a reflection of His own goodness, originating in Him and issuing from him. God is the source of all good and is Himself wholly good.” So from the earliest diamond fields of Genesis to the last treasure rich fields of Revelations and everything in between – the goodness of our God is on display and ready to be enjoyed – and we’ve been invited to “taste and see that the He is good”, (Ps 34:8). He is good in character and in deed, and He spreads the wealth of His goodness to all who love Him and are called according to His purpose by working all things together for good, that’s right – from the beginning of time He purposefully set about not just being good but doing good – to and for the ones He loves, (Romans 8:28).
Of course, if we want to know what goodness looks like, we only have to look at the perfect example of God’s goodness, His gift of love through Jesus Christ. who, *”radiated perfect goodness in perfect obedience to the Father for the sake of the lost.” Jesus, Himself, offers us the best definition of what goodness is by the way He lived, obedient to the Father and selflessly pouring Himself out in mercy, love, and grace for others. “Just as Christ radiates the goodness of God, so now should we. And according to Him, that goodness should be evident in our lives.” We have been told, when this happens others will see our good works and give glory to God who is in heaven, (Matt. 5:14-15). God should always be the goal of our goodness, by that I mean our goal should be to let our goodness reflect His goodness, let our goodness be purposeful and never selfishly motivated. It won’t be easy – our goodness will bless some but it will surely rub others the wrong way – which is why Scripture warns us not to grow weary in doing good, but if it’s bringing God glory and ultimately yielding fruit, fruit that will bear witness that we are the children of God, the brothers and sisters of Christ – then is it not worth pressing toward the goal of living out godly goodness? (Galatians 6:9; 5:22-25; Romans 8:29)
The key question of our study is “Who should I be?” I believe the answer should always come down to this – I should be who God wants me to be. To know who that is means applying Romans 12:2 to our lives. For to know His will we must “let God transform our mind by changing the way we think.” Paul says, when God does this, we will learn to know God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. In other words, we need to think and thus act/live like God, who gave us Christ – who Himself is described in Acts 10:38-39, as “[the one who] went around doing good” but then was “put to death – on a tree”. Surely the act of His love was costly, the most costly of all – surely a cost worthy of our praise and imitation.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,Acts 10:38-39
Verses for Meditation
- Exodus 33:18–19
- Psalm 25:8–9 Psalm 100:5
- Nahum 1:7
- Romans 8:28
- Galatians 6:9–10
- James 1:17
Questions for Reflection
1. Which everyday aspect of the goodness of God do you recognize and savor the most? What everyday goodness might you thank him for that you have perhaps overlooked? List several.
2. Describe a time in your life when you were rejected for doing good. What was the result? What did you learn about being a follower of Christ?
3. In what area of your life are you most prone to grow weary of doing good? What relationship or circumstance would benefit most from a renewed determination to be generous with your time, gifts, or possessions?
4. How should a desire to grow in goodness impact our relationship with God positively? How should it impact our relationships with others positively? Give a specific example of each.
Write a prayer to God thanking him for revealing his goodness to you in your everyday life. Ask him to help you trust his goodness in your current circumstances that are not good. Thank him that the good news of Christ means you are set apart to do good works by the power of the Spirit, which he ordained for you to do. Ask him to shine his goodness through you.