I believe you can’t ever really separate goodness and glory.
So when the Bible says that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, I wonder if what it means is that somewhere along the line, we stopped being good. We stopped thinking about goodness as a way of life.
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to get you to commit to goodness. Not as an idea. Not as a concept. But as a lifestyle.
Everything about you is governed by the goodness of God. If you get a scrape, goodness is going to come out. Nothing works against you because goodness is going to pour out of you. It’s going to come out of the pores of your skin. No one is safe. Not even your enemies are not safe.
In fact, when you are traveling in the goodness of God, you don’t recognize enemies.
I had a man come up to me in Kansas City once and here’s what he said to me: “I want you to know I hate everything you stand for.”
He went on from there. “You’re a heretic,” he said. “You’re apostate. You’re a false teacher. I hate everything you stand for. I’m against you. I’m your enemy.”
I said “Dude, no you’re not.”
He said “No, I’m being serious here! I hate everything you stand for. I’m your enemy!”
I said again: “No, you’re not.”
He said “I am!” He was getting very annoyed.
I said “Dude, you can’t be.”
He was obviously very confused at this point, so I explained myself. “Here’s the thing.” I said. “I’m not in the market for enemies, and you can’t be my enemy unless I receive you as one. I’m not in the mood. I haven’t got the time. I would rather have a cup of coffee with you. I’m definitely not taking you as an enemy but I’ll pray for you for the goodness of God.”
So he just looked at me and shook his head and walked away.
Somewhere along the way, we let go of something beautiful. We let go of goodness.
I think we fall short of glory when we fail to practice goodness.
Goodness is critical in times of opposition and warfare. We are to love our enemies and do good to them.
Let me read you something else in the Bible. Luke 6:27, Jesus says:
“I say to you who hear love your enemies do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other one also. Whoever takes away your coat do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you and whoever takes away what is yours do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
If you love those who love you what credit is that to you? Even sinners loves those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those to whom you expect to receive what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
But love your enemies and do good and lend expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the most high. For he himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
Jesus is talking about a level of goodness here that transcends everything. It’s a level of goodness so profound it literally doesn’t matter what people are doing, nothing can hold you back from it.
Goodness is a way of life.
You live in a place of such incomparable goodness that you are not scared about being taken for granted.
You’re not worried about being abused or your resources being abused.
None of those things concern you.
You’re not remotely concerned about what other people do with the goodness that you put out. All you’re concerned about is the fact that you want to do good. You don’t want to have favorites. You’re not worried about who will waste or abuse the goodness that you’re doing because—and here’s the thing about goodness—you can’t be in charge of it.
You don’t get a say for who you give goodness to.
You don’t get to play favorites.
You don’t get to give goodness as a reward.
You get to give goodness because that’s the nature of God. You don’t get to give it with any conditions.
Goodness is not conditional. It’s not something you get to withhold because you don’t like how people use your goodness. You don’t get to play favorites.
You get just to be good.
P.S. In what ways have you been putting conditions on how good you are to others? Practically, what would it look like to remove those conditions?