Recently, I found some notes from a study done years ago. I was encouraged to reread what had impacted me. Reviewing previous study notes, a sermon or a book is often a means to new understanding. We become a different person in Christ’s hands than we were previously. We followers of Christ are being sanctified as we devote ourselves to the things of the Lord.
As Christ followers, we believe the premise that God is good, but what is good or how is He good? Let’s first define the word good with the help of a dictionary.
• Suitable to a purpose; effective; efficient
• Producing favorable results; beneficial
• Fresh; unspoiled; uncontaminated
• Valid; genuine; real
• Honorable; worthy; respectable
• Morally sound or excellent; virtuous; honest; just
• Excellent of its kind; best
If you’re like me, reading the definitions of a simple word contextually puts a whole new perspective on it. From that brief list, the one that first jumped out at me, while thinking in terms of God is uncontaminated – God is uncontaminated by sin. All the adjectives are fitting of God and His character in some way. Let me illustrate with scripture and dictionary definitions.
Below, I have stated biblical facts about God’s goodness and put an appropriate, substitutionary adjective in brackets for the word good. A suggested exercise: as you read each scripture passage try replacing the word good with the bracketed word. Then see if it gives you fresh insight or perspective on familiar verses. I have italicized the word good in each quotation for simplicity and added emphasis.
God’s will for us is good [suitable]
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, CSB).
God’s purpose for us is good [beneficial]
“For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, CSB).
God’s work in us is good [worthy]
“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, CSB).
The hope God has given us is good [genuine]
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, CSB).
The works God created us for are good [honorable and beneficial]
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10, CSB).
The fight God called us to win is good [virtuous]
“I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith” (1 Timothy 1:18-19, CSB).
The fruit God produces in us is good [unspoiled]
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense” (James 3:17, CSB).
The gifts God gives us are good [excellent]
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, CSB).
God equips us with everything good [effective and necessary]
“Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21, CSB).
God works all things together in our lives for good [favorable results]
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, CSB).
I believe God ordained for me to come across this set of notes on this particular day. It is the date of my son’s and my mother’s deaths. They died on the same day although seven years apart. My husband also died in November so it is a difficult, bittersweet month. My faith is strong because my God is strong, but my human emotions can still become touchy during this season. Following a time of tears, it was comforting to remind myself of God’s goodness.
If you are having a difficult time, for whatever reason, I am confident that going to the Father who created you and loves you like no other, will turn the tide of emotions as you seek consolation in Christ, the true source of comfort.
Father God, You are so good to me! Thank You for showing many ways You are good. You are worthy of my eternal gratitude, praise, loyal servitude, life-long devotion, and utmost obedience. You are the one who forgives, heals, comforts, and restores. Blessed be Your name forevermore.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.
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Journal inscription added by Manette Kay.