Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit that sounds easy at first. “Be good,” is a phrase parents have used for decades to tell their kids how to behave. What is goodness though? To the world, the concept of what is good seems to change with the wind.
God, however, has used good consistently. First, to describe how He felt about the things He created. Of course God himself, is the very definition of good. The Bible, likewise, has some instructions for God’s people who wish to be good.
First, we are instructed to do good…good works. These good works in turn not only help people, but give us an opportunity to point others to God. In Micah, we are told what God considers good…to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)
Of course, walking humbly with God implies we are obedient to Him…perhaps the traditional definition of good. Yet, unlike the world’s trendy ideas of what actions are right and wrong, God’s commands and principles are consistent. When God gives Christians a command, it isn’t up for a vote. He won’t change it on us.
So what are some ways you can encourage your kids to have a full measure of goodness in their lives?
- Mother may I? Ultimately, the commands your kids should follow are from God. When they are young though, they practice by obeying their parents. Games like “Mother May I”, “Follow the Leader” and “Simon Says” are fun, silly ways to practice obedience. After several rounds, talk about why it is important they obey you. What are some possible consequences for disobedience…not just from consequences, but because your rules are often to protect them from something that could hurt them.
- Good deeds days. Good deeds are part of other fruits, too. For goodness, focus on doing good deeds that cause someone to say, “This is good!” It may be cooking food for someone or creating art. Don’t forget to help your kids find ways to point others to God as they serve them.
- God is good. Part of goodness is accurately reflecting God’s image. In order to do that though, your kids need to understand who God is…His characteristics. See how many words your kids can use to describe God. Consider creating a type of graffiti “wall” in your house where people can add new descriptions of God as they think of them. Older kids may be interested in researching some of the names of God. When your wall is full, discuss the ways your family can be like God in those ways. Challenge each other to reflect God more accurately.
- That’s good! See how many “good” things in life your kids can list. What makes them good? What do they think God means when He says a fruit of the Spirit is goodness? How can they exhibit goodness in their lives? Younger kids will struggle with this, but older ones should be able to find some parallels. Can they think of people in the Bible who had the fruit of the Spirit of goodness? How do they know?
Goodness may seem to overlap with a few other fruits of the Spirit. That’s okay. The more practice your kids get in the fruit of the Spirit, the easier they will become.