Galatians 5:22-23 lists what the Apostle Paul calls "the fruit of the Spirit." This "fruit" is basically describing the characteristics of Jesus Christ, such as being loving, caring, joyful, and good. Because of the Holy Spirit's influence in our lives, we can begin to produce positive, beneficial things in our character, like Christ, such as goodness.
But "goodness" is such a vague term, isn't it? Sure, we're supposed to be "good," but does that mean merely obeying the rules or simply being nice or is there something more to this?
The sort of goodness Paul is talking about here relates to godly morality, plus knowing and acting upon the kindest, most loving response in any given situation. The Greek word used for "goodness" here is agathosune, which means "uprightness of heart and life." Being upright means having an others-focused motivation—far from a desire for self-exaltation or the appearance of virtue.
Goodness is being holy and virtuous through your words and actions without a need for acknowledgement or reward. A life of goodness is filled with acts that are motivated by righteousness and a true desire to help other people. Goodness from the Holy Spirit is never selfish, arrogant, or hurtful.
If the Holy Spirit is growing goodness within you, you will have a desire to act selflessly when you witness suffering. Goodness is going out of your way to fulfill the needs of others. Goodness is confronting another's sin with love and compassion rather than belittling or derogatory accusations. The ways you can show goodness are as diverse and creative as your imagination can possibly allow.
Help your siblings with their homework. Help your parents with their own chores. Bring a meal or flowers to a sick friend or neighbor. Spend time with an elderly relative and help them feel special by listening to their stories. Volunteer to clean up after a church event or clean up the neighbor's yard for free.
True goodness is not something we can dig up on our own. Without the Holy Spirit, any good deeds we do will be tinged with some measure of selfishness. James 1:17 says, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." That includes allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us toward true righteous, selfless goodness in our words and actions.
"...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." —Matthew 5:16
One of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness (Galatians 5:22-23). Goodness is being holy and morally virtuous through your words and actions without a need for acknowledgement or reward. A life of goodness is filled with acts that are motivated by righteousness and a true desire to help other people. Goodness from the Holy Spirit is never selfish, arrogant, or hurtful. The ways you can show goodness are as diverse and creative as your imagination can possibly allow.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org and loves to write novellas with local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, five socially awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.