Saturday, March 14, 2009

Goodness = Pure Love

Since the beginning of February I have been memorizing Romans 15. The chapter is 33 verses long and it has been divided into 10 portions. I printed them on large labels so I could put them on index cards and store in a little binder on my dashboard. I spend so much of my time in the car traveling from site to site to service my students the time could be put to good use in memorizing God’s Word.
So far I’m up to verse 22 but I find as I go through my day the Lord is bringing deeper insights to the verses I’m learning. For example, I already had learned Romans 15:13 as a First Place memory verse “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” So it was not as difficult to learn the only other verse on that card -- Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
So today in reading an article by Rebekah Montgomery called “For Goodness Sakes!” I began to reflect on my understanding of goodness and that brought me back to the above verse!
This is the quote from her March newsletter that I wanted to share:
True goodness isn’t simple niceness. The Bible’s version of goodness describes good deeds that are not random but pointed and personal. It defines goodness using the same term as one would use to describe the razor-sharp honing of a knife blade. It’s going the extra mile for the person in need. In other words, the Bible’s definition of goodness is living and behaving with a cutting edge of righteous action.
Goodness requires courage, wisdom, initiative, a generous heart, and sometimes, precision direction from God. It is opening the car door for someone whose arms are full. Goodness is providing babysitting for a sick mother. Goodness is bringing the favorite food to a shut in.
Some give to get. That’s not goodness; that’s greed. Some give out of pure love for the individual; that’s goodness.
If you want to read the entire piece check it out here:
Paul lists goodness first in the verse as a stage in becoming complete in knowledge and competent to instruct. We learn by doing as Christ would which builds our knowledge (our “wise-ness”) and the final step is to instruct others which often means walking beside them as they learn to provide goodness to another. It’s a complete circle which will have the same effect as a pebble thrown into a pond and that ripples outward.
It continues to amaze me – this intimate relationship with the Lord that truly proves his desire to be my personal God – and helps to reinforce the idea of his sovereignty. He knows what will happen next and where I need to go and will share that with me but only if I’m open to seek Him and listen for His voice. His goodness is everlasting!
"But the right action with the wrong attitude is nothing but hypocrisy." John MacArthur