More Than “Being Good”

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:16

It’s a humble sort of word, goodness. Perhaps that’s why we often overlook it or underestimate its creative power as a prophetic witness of the Kingdom of God.

When we create good, we are co-creating with God.

Creating good is one of the great joys of the Christian life. As we follow Jesus in every corner of our humanity, we create good—good thoughts, good acts, good words, good works, good paths to follow. It’s so much more than “niceness.” Good is a pushing back of the darkness so we may be deeply connected to the other fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), to beauty, to justice. When we take what Paul called our “everyday, walking-around lives” and place them before God as an offering (Romans 12:1), we are co-creating the Kingdom of God, participating in a beautiful glimpse of the life that God always intended for us as his children. We are honouring the image of God in one another while we celebrate and affirm the dream of God for humanity.

The oddly wonderful and sometimes frustrating thing about creating good is that it is born out of the Spirit, not out of our effort. Goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, after all (Gal. 5:22), and only when we are abiding in the Vine, as Jesus taught us to remain (John 15), can we produce much fruit. Apart from him, we can do nothing. This is why our goodness is not one more thing on our to-do list in the planner. Good is a way of living out what God has already lived into us.

In Galatians 5:22 when Paul explains the fruit of the Spirit, the word he uses for goodness is agathosune, which means uprightness of heart and life. It’s for the benefit of others. We don’t create good for the sake of earning something. By its very nature, goodness is creative and collaborative with the Spirit.

Goodness is born out of the creative work of the Spirit in our own lives. When we create good in our daily lives, however humble, we embody that creative work of the Spirit. We can take the death grip off an obsession with “good deeds” and become a people who simply create good.

The beautiful thing about goodness, like any gift from heaven, is that it opens eyes and draws the hearts of people towards the source of that goodness: our God. Creating good is a sermon we can all preach.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How would your life change if you stopped trying to “be good” and began to live out a creativity of goodness with the Spirit? How can you create good in your life today?

PRAYER: Spirit, thank you for your creative work in us. Jesus, thank you for being our beloved Vine. Teach us how to abide in you so that we bear much fruit. We pray that our goodness would be a natural consequence of the sacred company we keep, instead of a manufacturing of good deeds. And would you show us how to embody your goodness in our daily lives? Amen.


Create Good

It takes work to create good. It takes time and energy and resources and, well, work. Somewhere along the way, you might feel discouraged or worn out or frustrated by the whole thing, so we've asked a few people in The High Calling network to talk to us about creating and cultivating good things. We hope this series, Create Good, inspires you to keep looking up, pressing on, and doing good. We pray you find the inspiration to "not grow weary in doing good." God sees your work. God knows your desire to do good, to create good, to celebrate and cultivate good in the world. God is for you. And so are we.

Featured image by Claire Burge. Used with Permission. Sourced via Flickr.