Surrendering to goodness
"If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit ..." (v.5)
Although, as we have seen, goodness is a fruit that is difficult to define, we come close to seeing its meaning when we think of it in terms of essential goodness -- goodness in the inner parts. It is not something that is imposed but something that is exposed; it moves, not from without to within but from within to without. It is not self-achieved. Supernatural goodness is pure goodness -- a goodness which unconsciously proclaims itself. Christians in whom goodness is growing will not "use" others as many use their friends -- they will love them for themselves alone. They will not mentally fit people into their scheme -- for they have no schemes.
I think it would be true to say that goodness is there to some degree in all Christians who are in daily touch with the Lord and are growing in Him -- but in those who have known what it is to die to self, it is there in overflowing measure. They exude goodness. John Wallace, a Scotsman and the principal of the college where I received my training for the ministry, used to say: "Goodness, the fruit of the Spirit
, is more 'felt' than 'telt'. It is not so much actions as attitudes, not so much talking as walking."I believe myself that God never gets closer to a sinner -- or, for that matter, an unsurrendered Christian -- than when He calls to that person through the life of someone in whom the fruit of goodness is ripe. So in yearning for this fruit of the Spirit, remember, it comes not by straining to be good but by surrendering to goodness.
O God, I see that goodness is not some extraneous thing introduced from without; it is something that rises from within. Teach me how to stop struggling and start surrendering. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What will cause the unbeliever to glorify God?
2. What was Paul's prayer for the Colossians?