We have been with our grandsons most of the last two weeks and we had to be so careful when the TV was on because we didn’t want them to see, or hear, the news from France, Baton Rouge, or Dallas. We wanted to shield them from the bad things in the world and only give them what is good.
However, the boys’ idea of good and our idea of good wasn’t always the same. Keeping bedtime consistent and eating veggies were our ideas of good for our grandsons. The boys thought we were wrong. The bad guys who did awful things that were on the news thought they were doing good; they were wrong. Is there a way to determine ultimate good?
We do have a standard by which to measure good and that is God. God is good; he is always good, he always does what is good. To determine whether anything is good or not we must weigh it against the Word and character of God: if it aligns, it is good; if not, it is not.
Unfortunately, rather than measure good by the standard of God, we tend to measure good by the degree to which we think something will benefit us: If something helps me out, makes me look or feel better, then it must be good. This is way most of the world thinks – the way most children think.
But what if the very thing we think will benefit us most does not align with God, his character, his attributes, his Word and his revelation of himself in the Bible. Then we must conclude that it is not good. Period.
When we don’t like what God is doing, or what he is giving us, would we dare say that God is not good? No. When we don’t get our way, is it because God is not acting in a good way toward us? No. When our circumstances are spiraling out of control, or contrary to we want is it because God is not working for our good? No. God always gives what is good.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11 NIV
Our humanity distorts our understanding of good. We are human and we make mistakes. We misunderstand and misjudge other people; people we love and care deeply about. We fight because we want what we think is good and we don’t get it. We need God’s wisdom to understand what is good from God’s perspective.
It is easy to fool ourselves and think that we know what is good for us in any given moment. Too often though our self-deception, our perverted perception of what is good, and our failure to measure our perceived good against the reality of God opens the door to sin. Sin further corrupts our vision and we lose sight of what is truly good: Living holy lives because we love God.
Because God is unchanging and because God is good, we can rightly conclude that good is unchanging. What is good now will always be good and always has been good. If we want to live good lives, we must become familiar with who God is and embrace his idea of good.
The reality is we can all try to be good – better than we are – but that is not possible on our own. We may try to clean up our act and remove that which is not good, but that affects only our external actions. We can act good, but that is all it is: an act. Our reality is that we have an inherent lack of goodness within us; our hearts are sinful and so are our thoughts.
However, our good God has provided a way to be reconciled to him, to have our wicked hearts made new, and to be born again into a new life. God has given us the perfect gift of goodness so that we can share in his goodness.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth…” James 1:16-18a NIV
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” – Romans 8:32 NIV
Are you seeking good in a world that is filled with really bad things? You will find what you are seeking when you look to God. Apart from God there is no goodness.
Have you experienced the goodness of God by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior? Only then will you be able to rest in the assurance that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. In every situation, every crisis, every time the news is filled with wickedness and fear – God remains good and he is at work for good.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
– Psalm 34:8 NIV
This summer (2016) I have chosen to highlight an attribute of God each week in the blog posts. For the entire catalog of attributes, please click on this link: