Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Every year for the last few years instead of making a New Year’s resolution I spend some time alone with God going over how the previous year went and asking for direction for the coming year; Telling Him all the things I want to do better at and listening for the plans He has for me. And every year I come away from that time with a word or phrase for the year. In 2014 I learned about standing up and speaking out and boy did I grow that year! A week after I heard that word I was on national TV being interviewed about homeschooling. That was the year this girl, an avowed introvert spoke at two Homeschool events, helped on the local Homeschool convention committee, and spoke in Genealogy club as well.
And yet every year I feel like I’ve failed, like I didn’t really study or work on it enough, sometimes I even wonder if I heard right. I remember one year I learned about hospitality; at the beginning of the year I read several books about hospitality. We lived in a big house and I had these big ideas of how I would be hospitable. By the end of the year I felt like I had failed. We didn’t have enough guests come and stay, I didn’t invite enough friends over for tea and Bible study. During my time with God He revealed to me all of the ways I had used what I had to be hospitable.
For 2015 my word was “Goodness”. A word we are all familiar with but do we really know what it means to practice goodness? Scripture talks about the Goodness of God and it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. But what is goodness and how do we live it?
dictionary.com defines Goodness as moral excellence; virtue. Eastman’s Bible dictionary says, “Goodness in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.”
I studied this word the first few months of the year and then life got crazy and I thought about it only during fleeting moments and then only to despair of ever learning about goodness. But the struggles of this year have really caused me to dig into God, and fully lean on His Spirit within me. I have learned so much about goodness this year and how God is working goodness through me and has since I was a little Jesus girl.
In today’s culture, being a “good” girl is treated with disdain by many people. If you are a good girl you must be boring, prudish, naive, etc… I have had people try to peg me as all of these things, and this year even as judgmental, traditional, and a fundamentalist. All because I prefer to follow after what is morally good. I don’t always make the best choices but I continue to work on it. And because last year I learned to stand up for my beliefs, this year I have learned to not be ashamed or embarrassed of being good and doing good.
I am excited to learn what God has in store for me next year! What has God been teaching you this year?