Welcome to our final week looking at spiritual fruit of goodness, and what a refreshing month it has been. We have spoken about good gifts, good deed, good fruit and this week we are talking about where our goodness is stored. Hop over to Naomi’s blog first if you missed last week’s post and catch up!
Our verse this week comes once again from Matthew – “A good man brings good out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him“. This passage has two opposite sections that mirror each other – one about a good man and the other about an evil man. I am going to focus on the good man in this post, but we all know the opposite is true. I am going to work backwards too (just to confuse you all!!) so hope you can follow my train of thought….
Storing up good
This phrase has really stood out for me this week – that the “good man” had good “stored up in him” to draw upon. What are we storing up in our spirits? Are we spending time filling up on God’s word, asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and meditating on the good things that are contained in scripture? Are we talking to friends who build us up and encourage us? Are we avoiding situations where the people might be negative and deplete our good stores? You know if we want to be good to others and to show the goodness of God through doing good deeds, giving good gifts and bearing good fruit then we need to prepare.
Someone once said to me that what we store up is what will squeeze out of us when we come under pressure. Whether that pressure is a stressful place, a situation that riles us or a terrible situation that you just find yourself in, don’t you want what comes out of you in it to be good rather than evil?? Don’t you want love and goodness to squeeze out rather than hate and anger and evilness?
This week’s events in Manchester have seen mainly good reactions of love, support and unity, and have shown that most of us are storing up good. But then, actually, we probably do have some bad, angry, evil words to speak about those who did these things. Is that right? Is that good? I’ll let you decide.
Bring good things
Reading over the rest of this passage, you can see immediately that this isn’t referring to physical things, but actually is about our speech. The verse before says “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” and the verse after says “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned”. This is most definitely referring to the words that we say. In the same way that gentleness is more about the way we speak and approach others, so too goodness can be about the words we say as much as deeds or gifts. Are we watching what we say? Do we do this all the time or only in front of certain people? This part is so much easier when we have stored up good things already as the good words will just overflow out of your heart.
Sometimes when I am away from God and not spending much time in his word I get really snide and sarcastic in the way I speak to people. But then I know other times when I am submersed in God’s word that I cannot bring myself to say anything bad, even if I know that there are reasons to say bad things. Do you go through this too?
A good man
Only if you’ve stored up good in your spirit and overflowed goodness in your words will people start to call you a “good man”. To grow in this spiritual fruit you need to draw upon the goodness of God and fill up on it. Make your stores full to bursting and then that is what will flow out. And others will see. I promise you that!
We move on to the penultimate spiritual fruit – faithfulness – next week and Naomi will be leading the discussions over on her blog and in our facebook group. We will be looking at the following verse:
“Because God has said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”” Hebrews 13:5
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