the goodness of god (2023)

Background text: Isaiah 54:8, 1 Peter 2:3

Devotional text: Colossians 3:12

This week the focus is on God's goodness and how God's goodness is bestowed upon us.

The prophet Isaiah spoke a lot about the goodness of God. Scriptures such as Isaiah 54:8 and 63:7 tell us about God's eternal goodness and mercy toward us and God's good works toward his people.

From creation to the Exodus and beyond, God's acts of love and protection abound for those who put their faith and trust in Him.

As we move through the New Testament, the goodness of God continues and is read in scriptures such as Ephesians 2:7 and 1 Peter 2:3, both of which tell us of the goodness of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, who taught us the love of God and the kingdom of God, came to earth to provide a personal saving relationship with God through His death on the cross and Resurrection so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life.

In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, Solomon gave us advice about kindness. In the New Testament, Jesus taught us how to live together as good and kind people.

Solomon told us these truths in Proverbs: 12:25, "The troubled heart oppresses a man, but a kind word makes him glad"; 14:21: "He who despises his neighbor's sins is blessed, he is good to the needy." 14:31: "He who oppresses the poor despises his Maker, but he who has compassion on the needy listens to God."

Being kind to others means showing sympathy and compassion, helping where we can. God never asks us to do what we cannot. However, if we have ways and means to help someone in need, we should.

It is often the Holy Spirit who propels us to go forward and help those in need. Responding to that push pleases God and is a blessing to those in need and those who help.

Colossians 3:12 tells us that we are loved "holy and beloved" by God. This scripture tells us how we are to live in this world “clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. ... patience with others. ... Forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven you. And then clothe yourselves with the love that will hold you all together in perfect unity."

It is not uncommon for many of our New Testament writings to begin and end with the love of God, because in the love of God we find all the other good qualities of life. They are all connected. There is no malice in them, just as there is no malice in God's love for us. Because God's love is not equal to human love. it's pure love love for love

As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, "Love is patient, love is is not envious, it does not boast...the greatest of these is love."

Luke 6:35 tells us to love our enemies, “Do good to them without expecting anything in return. Then your reward will be great."

God loves us and loves to bless us, especially when we follow his teachings about kindness, gentleness, and compassion for one another.

There are other scriptures that help us put things in perspective. James 2:12-14 tells us to "deal kindly... mercy always overcomes harsh judgment", Matthew 7:12, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and Hebrews 13:16, " Kindness and kindness to others pleases God."

These are simple words of wisdom. If you want someone to treat you well, start by treating them well. If someone is hard on you, show them kindness. Often a kind word to someone in the midst of an attack. There is something about a person who is patiently calm, showing kindness, that calms the speaker.

God knows a kind word drives out anger, and a person who shows kindness to others is generally known as a person of peace and understanding. Jesus showed us these qualities and taught his followers the importance of being kind to one another and sharing.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul summed up all these qualities in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are freely given to us as believers. The fruits of the Spirit are not so much individual behavior as interconnected under God's love.

In Galatians 5:22, it is no coincidence that the fruit begins with the word "love". The fruits listed are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Paul rightly adds that there is no law against such behavior.

In 2 Peter 1:3-11, this apostle gave us a progression in which we are to grow as God's people: “Add goodness to your faith; and for good, knowledge; and the mastery of knowledge; and self-control, perseverance; and by perseverance, godliness; and pity brotherly kindness; and to love love fraternally.”

This is not a list that we will work through one by one. All this is connected in our faith. We do nothing and leave it aside. We grow through them and they remain with us as spiritually mature people of God.

For example, our faith moves us to action to be good people. The knowledge that Peter speaks of is not worldly knowledge, but knowledge of who God is in our lives as we grow in trust in the God who is always faithful to us.

As we continue to be followers of Christ, we develop self-control. Our self-control can include control over food and drink, as well as our emotions. Perseverance refers to persisting in our faith, which develops in us the virtues of God. We see that all people are our neighbors and it is good to be kind to everyone. As we grow as Christians, we not only understand God's love, but feel it within ourselves.

God's goodness began with his love for us and was proved by the Scriptures. God's kindness to us has shown us how to be kind to others. All good things come from God's love. The kindness we show others grows even more when we understand God's kindness to us.

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