Philanthropic In Spirit

Galatians 5:22-24… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (KJV). I want to dwell on the word “goodness” in this exhortation. As used in this verse, the word “goodness” means goodness in the sense of being good to someone, or being philanthropic, generous, or charitable with finances. It is the Holy Spirit who plants this urge in your heart. Acts 10:38 tells us that this fruit of the Spirit operated mightily in Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Notice the words “doing good.” This phrase also means “to be philanthropic.” Most people who use this scripture focus on the miraculous healing work of Jesus. Doing miracles is a good work, but this verse also teaches that Jesus also was a benefactor, a philanthropic, one who assisted those who were in need financially. Jesus did charitable works. Luke 8:3 tells of people with great financial resources giving to Jesus, who in turn supported others (John 12:5). Jesus had an outreach ministry that ministered to the needy. Jesus didn’t just do supernatural works; He used His resources under the direction of the Holy Spirit to assist people in the natural realm. Jesus cared for the poor. Goodness is a character feature of God; it’s part of His righteous nature, so of course that is true of Jesus.

When the Holy Spirit tells us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness, He is letting us know that we too ought to be philanthropic in nature. Our resources help in changing lives. The Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22 was shifting our focus away from ourselves to see the needs of those hurting. The fruit of the Spirit that is called goodness is that supernatural urge in a person that reaches beyond himself or herself to meet the natural needs of those around them. When a believer is walking in the Spirit, their eyes are opened to see the needs of humanity. We used to sing a chorus called “Oh, God Is Good.” Goodness is part of God’s nature. It is part of His kindness that amid the chaos that is all around us, we can count on Him. God is unfailingly reliable; He is the One we can count on. Psalm 23:6 tells us that when we make the Lord our Shepherd, goodness follows us all the days of our lives. The word “goodness” also means “kindness,” or “to be well-favored and prosperous.” God is philanthropic in His Spirit and we should be too.

Pastor George Belobaba

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