For several months, probably a couple of years, honestly, lessons in my walk with the Lord often point me back to this issue of the heart called ... my motives. And it's got me thinking about goodness. The dictionary defines the word good as being "morally excellent," "virtuous," "righteous" ... things like that. While those are decent definitions, I've been learning that goodness has so very much to do with grace.
Ya see ... no one is good (Romans 3:10-12). Only God is good. Even Jesus, who was God in the flesh, didn't consider Himself good ... but pointed to God, alone, as being good (Matthew 19:17). But the longer I exist on this planet, seeking after God and striving to know Him better, I continue to learn that although we are not good in and of ourselves, we are good according to God. Once we put our trust in Jesus, God sees goodness, not sin. I think another definition of goodness is "without blame" or "blameless." And that's exactly how God sees us because we are washed by the blood of Jesus!
Is this hard for you to swallow? Well, get in line! I have struggled for over 10 years with this thing called grace. It's for everyone but me ... at least, that's what I've somehow brainwashed my mind into believing. But by God's GRACE, He is retraining my mind, slowly but surely, teaching me to embrace His grace for myself ... specifically, He is teaching me "practice instead of perfection." He is showing me in His Word and through my daily encounters with Him and through teachings at church that I am good. I'm not good because of anything I've done. I'm good because of what JESUS has done. And His grace is MORE than sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Quickly, I wanted to bring us back to my first sentence about motives. Another key Truth that I want to share concerning goodness is our motives. The motives of our hearts also reveal whether or not we are allowing goodness to reign in our lives and grow as a Fruit of the Spirit. Yes, we are good because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross and because we have accepted His free gift of grace. But I think we manifest goodness in our lives by examining the condition of our hearts and choosing pure motives and actions rather than our fleshly desires. We are human beings, so we are going to sin ... I get it. But what are our motives? I can honestly say, that from a young age, my greatest desire has been to honor God with my life. Have I messed up? Heck, yeah! But my motives are almost always pure. I want to please Him. And I think that is something else God considers good. At least that is what I'm learning ... it all comes back to this phrase: it's a heart issue.