Be Good — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Be Good — Morning Devotions

Be good. Most of us grow up with our parents instructing us to be good each day. But how do we define being good?

By Chris WittsTuesday 14 May 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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I have a friend, whenever she sends me an email, she puts two words at the bottom of the message. And the words are, ‘Be good‘. It’s a really interesting short message. Makes me think what is goodness? Does it really matter if I am good? Maybe you recall as a child you were told by your mother, I want you to be good. And that message can stay with us for many, many years.

Well, my guess is that you do want to be a good person. The word good, what does it mean? Well, it refers to other words like moral excellence and virtue, integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity. And perhaps you can think of other words. I think instinctively we know what goodness is, and we find it difficult to give it an adequate definition.

Looking to understand goodness

Now the philosophers tell us that the three ultimate things in life are truth, beauty and goodness. I recall that Johnny Cash once recorded an album called American Recordings. And on the album cover is a picture of two dogs. One dog is black with a white stripe. The others dogs were white with a black stripe. And the two dogs are meant to say something about Johnny Cash. And he was asked the question by the Rolling Stone magazine – what was all this all about?

Well, he said, the two dogs here are called sin and redemption. He said Sin is the black one with a white stripe and redemption, well, he’s the white one with the black stripe. That’s the theme for this album, he says. It’s the theme for me. When I was really bad, I wasn’t all bad. When I was trying to be good, I could never be all good. There would be a black stripe going through my life.

He did run into all sorts of problems in his life and having seen the movie of his life, maybe you have. I think he was a good man. I think he was sincere. He was a sincere person who made a few mistakes along the way, like we all do. Perhaps it helps to say that goodness is like snow, freshly fallen snow in all its purity. Or it’s like a glass of pure fresh milk that hasn’t been contaminated or goodness is like a newborn baby, with its complete purity of mind and unspoiled life ahead.

It’s like getting into bed with the sheets that are fresh and clean. It’s the quality of cleanness, isn’t it?

As we think about the emphasis in the Bible upon goodness, we can actually think to people in the Bible like Joseph in the Old Testament. And the account of Joseph’s life, if you take time to read, is especially appealing because he didn’t allow himself to be caught up in sin or to be contaminated with some of the problems that were going on around him. In Egypt, there was an almost unbelievable strength within Joseph that enabled him to keep free from some of the temptations and superstitions of that world, the ancient pagan world.

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Now, of course, he did make mistakes. But there’s another person I can think of now, and that’s Daniel. When the king had set up his kingdom with 120 governors over the many provinces, he had three presidents who presided over the governors – here was Daniel, God’s Man chosen to be the chief among these three.

It’s not surprising to read that in the Bible there was jealousy on the part of other people. He was a Jew, he had this high office and there was tremendous tribute to the life of this young Jewish captive. And here’s what the Bible says in Daniel 6. They began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs so they could complain to the king about him. but they couldn’t find anything to criticise him for. He was faithful and honest and made no mistakes.

Now, isn’t that a marvellous tribute? There was no flaw in the life of Daniel. The only vulnerability, I guess, was that Daniel was loyal to God. He was a good person. He lived a good life. And in the New Testament we can find people like Nathaniel, who became one of the Lord’s Apostles. When he first came to Jesus, Jesus commented, here comes an honest man, a true son of Israel. That’s John 1:47. And that’s another great tribute.

There are many scriptures that talk about goodness, Paul says that when the Holy Spirit comes, he controls our lives and produces love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Let’s Pray

Well, Heavenly Father, we do want to be good people. We want to be good for you. Give us the strength to live that kind of life all the time. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.