The Fruit of the Spirit – Living a Spirit-filled life
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22 (NIV)
Day 8: Goodness
“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” -Romans 15:14 (NIV)
The Greek word used here, agathosune, is only found four times in the New Testament – Gal 5:23, Rom 15:14, Eph 5:9 and 2 Thess 1:11. It is used in the Septuagint, the Latin translation of the Old Testament, but is not found in any known secular literature. It connotes the idea of generous kindness, which goes beyond the requirements of justice. One scholar observed that this is the antithesis of envy, which wants the good things others have for itself. (See Ronald Fung’s commentary on Galatians.) Goodness also carries the sense of morally upright – honest, reliable, ethical.
In the passage in Romans, above, goodness is given as a qualification for teaching others. Notice the NIV translates adelphoi as “brothers and sisters” – and I would add non-binary, agender, gender-fluid – all siblings in Christ are qualified to teach each other, not just pastors or those ordained by the church. But we must make sure that we are qualified to teach, and that those we are learning from are qualified. Are they demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit, including goodness? Are they honest? Are they generous? Do they (or their policies) extend care to the poor beyond what they are obligated to by law? Or do are they envious, wanting to keep as much as they can for themselves and their own families, and teaching this avarice to their followers?
What do you think of when you hear the word goodness? Who are some people you know who demonstrate that quality? Are you producing the fruit of goodness in your life?
About The Author
Jessica Kantrowitz spent many years in seminary, earning an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and in various ministries to both Americans and international students. When a health crisis coincided with a faith-shift she left her job in an Evangelical parachurch organization and rediscovered her joy in writing. Her work has been published on Think Christian and The Good Men Project and shared widely throughout social media, in particular her essays, Bake for them two and Things I've been wrong about for most of my life, part one. She lives in Boston where she also works as a nanny and an academic editor. You can find her at her blog, Ten Thousand Places, and on Facebook and Twitter.