We often told our son and daughter when they were children to “be good.” We always kept their behavior in mind, especially when we were in public. I got to thinking about what it means to be good and to do good. And every week for the month of July, that will be my train of thought. Are you ready for this ride? It may prove rather bumpy.
Even before I started writing, the thought that comes to mind is that of Jesus being approached by a man on the street. The man greeted him with reverence by addressing him as Good Teacher. Those watching probably saw nothing wrong, but our Lord has a way of going deeper and getting to the core. The matter was what one must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked the man why he would address him as good, because only God is good. Then he named several don’ts of the commandments and one do. Don’t commit murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat and honor your father and mother. The man explained that from the time he was a boy; he had been obedient to the law. I imagine he was feeling pretty good about himself. But here’s the thing…Jesus, went deeper than the keeping of the law. He went to the matter of the heart! I can imagine that he looked at him so intently with eyes that saw into his soul. He told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and to follow him. It shook that man to the core! He was rich and could not do it to follow Jesus. Eternal life would cost him more than just doing the outward. It would cost him everything that he held dear surrendered to God. It is only through God that there is any “good” within us at all!
Goodness is morally good or virtuous, having high moral standards. It is being judged by others and being found to have an excellent reputation. We are told in the word of God that you will know the fruit by the root. If then only God is authentically good; it is only if I am rooted and grounded in him that good is genuinely manifested in my life. Outwardly doing the right thing is not enough. Our motives, that which drive us to do a thing, are equally important.
Many Christians will get on what appears to be a morally sound high horse. Some will shout and point their fingers, expecting the unsaved to live lives they are not even living. Oh, how hypocritical! Genuine goodness comes from a deep, surrendered place within and it will cost you everything!