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Question: "The Fruit of the Holy Spirit – What is goodness?"

Answer:
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul lists the "fruit of the Spirit." “Fruit,” here, means "beneficial results," the good things that come from the Spirit’s indwelling. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, our character changes. Where we had harbored selfishness, cruelty, rebelliousness, and spite, we now possess love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything in the list reflects the character of God, and goodness is one that relates directly to morality.

Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It's a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as "uprightness of heart and life." Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.

Someone with agathosune will selflessly act on behalf of others. Confronting someone about a sin demonstrates goodness. So do giving to the poor, providing for one’s children, visiting the sick, volunteering to clean up after a storm, and praying for an enemy. Expressions of goodness are as varied as the Spirit is creative.

Goodness is not a quality we can manufacture on our own. James 1:17 says, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." This certainly includes a life characterized by goodness. In letting the Holy Spirit control us, we are blessed with the fruit of goodness. As others see our good works, they will praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

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