Goodness, a Fruit of the Spirit
Let us begin with prayer:
Gracious Triune God, you were there at the beginning of creation. You brought everything into being simply by a spoken Word. Be with us this day as we again study your powerful and living Word. Allow your Word to create, nurture, and sustain the faith that you first gave to us in our baptism. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Last month we started looking at the fruit of the Spirit called “Goodness.” One of the things that you may have come to realise is that all goodness stems or comes from our wonderful Triune God, the One who is the true source of Goodness. Our Triune God provides us with everything good thing that we need for our daily living.
As the explanation to the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed states: God the Father provides “all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me”.
When have you appreciated the goodness of God more in your life? Was it after a time of great joy? Or after a time of great distress? Have you always appreciated God’s goodness? Discuss.
Read Lamentations 3:15–26. This is a passage which has mixed emotions. The book of Lamentations was written by the Prophet Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army in approximately 587 BC.
Jeremiah is grieving, yet in the midst of his grief, he recognises that the Lord is still good to Israel despite the circumstances they had faced.
Have you ever seen or experienced something similar in your life?
Do you know of any songs that have been written that have come out of a time of crisis?
To help with discussions: do you know the story behind Now thank we all our God or What a friend we have in Jesus?
A psalm that also points to this is Psalm 107.
Please read Psalm 107 in its entirety. As you read it, what pattern do you see emerging from the psalm?
What are the needs that the people have in each section?
Of the needs mentioned in the psalm, which needs do you relate to in your life?
This psalm relates to the history of the Israelite people. You may recognise that verses 4–9 relate to the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus.
Each section is a part of the pressure cooker of life. It was like each group of people who tried to do their own thing in their own strength, yet they had to all turn to the Lord for help. This can be found in verses 6, 13, 19, 28.
What is usually your first reaction in times of trouble?
In each situation, the Lord God came to the rescue of the Israelites when they recognised that they had done wrong. The psalmist then repeatedly encourages them to give thanks to the Lord for the good things that he has done. Why do you think we need to be reminded of this?
What are some ways that we can give thanks to God for his goodness and love (vv22,32)?
In nature, we see that some things go through hard times to gain more goodness. One example is fruit, especially citrus. This type of fruit needs the right amount of frost to have the best taste. The frost hardens the skin of the citrus. Too little frost and they don’t taste nice, too much frost and they taste awful. They also need the right amount of rain at the right time to taste good as well. Yet in God’s good time they taste wonderful.
Sometimes we are like the citrus fruit, and we have to go through some hard times, so that God can produce the fruit of goodness in us. Sometimes we have to go through the barren ground, the dry desert, the hard times, to experience the goodness of God in our lives. Yet there could be times where we want to run away from God and the responsibilities that he has set before us.
Read Romans 8:28–32. This is a wonderful text that is often used at many funerals. What struck you in this reading? What does God use to produce good in us?
Paul starts off with, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Each of us who is reading this study has been called by God in some way. We have been called to be a parent, a grandparent, a wife, a husband, or a friend. Sometimes these callings and relationships are hard, yet we often enjoy the “good” that comes out of these relationships.
Luther tells us, in Explanation the Third article of the Creed, that it is the Holy Spirit who has called us by the Gospel, that is the Good News of what Jesus has done for us.
What good things has Jesus done for you over the course of your life?
Any other thoughts from the Bible Study?
Let’s pray together and close with the Lord’s Prayer:
We thank you our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you are the source of all goodness. You have rescued us from ourselves and the world around us. Be with us as we go from here and as we take your goodness with us out into our community. Amen.
Pastor Peter Klemm