I would like to acknowledge the insight received from Pastor Rick Renner for these lessons on the Fruit of the Spirit found in his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek – Volume 1.
Galatians 5:22-23 | NKJV (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The moment you received Jesus as your Savior by faith, God sowed His Spirit and Word into your heart like a seed.
Just like apples always produce apples and oranges always produce oranges, God’s seed inside you began to immediately produce God-like character on the inside of you.
The kind of seed always determines the outcome of the fruit; therefore, you should expect your life to yield the fruits of the Spirit for that is the seed God has sown in your heart.
The word “goodness” means goodness in the sense of being good to someone. This word was used to portray a person who is generous, big-hearted, liberal, and charitable with his finances. We would call this person a giver.
Acts 10:38 | NKJV (38) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Most people who preach from this verse focus primarily on the healing portion of this verse, but today I want to draw your attention to the phrase “doing good,” because it is so crucial to this discussion.
The words “doing good” is from an old Greek word that denoted a benefactor, a philanthropist, or one who financially supported charitable works. This word would only be used to describe a person who possessed great financial substance and who used it to assist those who were less fortunate.
The implication of this word is that Jesus possessed a great amount of financial resources in His ministry.
Luke 8:3b | TPT (3) …Many other women who supported Jesus’ ministry from their own personal finances also traveled with him.
Also, we can infer from Judas’ words in John 12:5 that Jesus’ ministry had a significant philanthropic outreach to the poor and needy over which Judas had been placed in charge.
John 12:5 | TPT (5) “What a waste! We could have sold this perfume for a fortune and given the money to the poor!”
We can find this very significant, for it tells us that Jesus didn’t only perform supernatural works; He also used His resources to do good works in the natural realm. Jesus cared for the poor; He helped feed the needy; and He utilized the vast resources of money made available to His ministry to meet the basic needs of human beings. Thus, He set an example for us to be concerned for and involved in the meeting of basic human needs as we are able to do so.
This tells us that acting in “goodness” is a character feature of the nature of God. Luke mentioned this aspect of Jesus’ nature in Acts 10:38 right along with His supernatural healing power, sounding the signal that God is just as interested in helping the poor and needy with financial assistance as He is in supernaturally healing their bodies. The truth is, helping to meet the physical needs of other people is an act of “goodness” that Jesus did and still longs to do through His people.
So, when the Bible tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is “goodness,” God is letting us know that He wants us to be selfless, using our resources to help change people’s living conditions for the better.
This is absolutely contrary to the flesh, which would consume every spare dollar on itself.
But when the Spirit is working mightily in us, He shifts our focus from ourselves to the needs of those who are around us.
Thus, the fruit of the Spirit called “goodness” is that supernatural urge in a person to reach beyond himself to meet the natural needs of those around him.
When a believer is walking in the Spirit, his eyes are supernaturally opened to see the needs of humanity, and his heart is moved to meet those needs. Therefore, there is no greater benefactor or philanthropist than a person who is filled with the Spirit and who is producing the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life!
The word “faith” is the common New Testament word for faith. However, in this verse it conveys the idea of a person who is faithful, reliable, loyal, and steadfast. It pictures a person who is devoted, trustworthy, dependable, dedicated, constant, and unwavering. This, of course, is contrary to the flesh, which seeks to be lazy, uncommitted, undependable, and completely unreliable.
When Paul wrote to Timothy and told him how to choose leaders, he urged Timothy to choose “faithful” men.
2 Timothy 2:2 | TPT (2) And all that you’ve learned from me, confirmed by the integrity of my life, pass on to faithful leaders who are competent to teach the congregations the same revelation.
This is also the word pistis, which tells us that it is mandatory for this fruit of the Spirit to be found in leaders.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 | NKJV (1) Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
That last phrase could be translated, “…It is required…that a man be found devoted, trustworthy, dependable, dedicated, constant, and unwavering.”
Psalms 15:1,4 | CEV (1) (A psalm by David.) Who may stay in God’s temple or live on the holy mountain of the LORD? …they keep their promises, no matter what the cost.
This is what an unfaithful person is like:
Proverbs 25:19 | TPT (19) You can’t depend on an unreliable person when you really need help. It can be compared to biting down on an abscessed tooth or walking with a sprained ankle.
The Bible stresses that God is faithful and utterly dependable.
1 Corinthians 1:9 | NKJV (9) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Numbers 23:19 | NLT (19) God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Hebrews 13:8 | NKJV (8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
If this unchanging, constant, stable, unwavering behavior is the nature of God Himself, it should not surprise us that when His Spirit is allowed to freely work in our lives, He makes us faithful and steadfast, just like God.
God is faithful; therefore, we should expect faithfulness to grow in our lives as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
- Does the Holy Spirit have enough freedom to produce “goodness” and “faithfulness” in your life today?
- Are you selfish and self-seeking, consuming every spare dollar on yourself and never showing concern for the needs of those around you?
- Do others know you as someone who is unstable, undependable, and unreliable?
When the Holy Spirit has the freedom to operate in your life, the fruits of “goodness” and “faithfulness” will be evident in you.