- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

The following are excerpts from a sermon delivered yesterday by John H. Bryant IV, senior pastor of Potomac Valley Assembly of God Church in Germantown.

I find this an appropriate time of the year to speak about the goodness of God. It is the fruit of the Spirit that produces the characteristic of “goodness” and other good qualities in the life of a Christian.

This is no ordinary goodness. … It is actually supernatural “goodness.”

People can do “good things” for many reasons other than truly noble ones. Some extend goodness in the hopes that it will buy them favors later down the road. These people live by the motto: “You scratch my back [and], I’ll scratch yours.”

Some participate in doing good things so they can manipulate a situation or somebody else. Some may do good things to enhance their own public image, while still others may do good things to gain a tax credit or other personal benefits.

The “goodness” that is included in [Chapter 5 of] Galatians speaks of a godliness that’s available to every person. God desires for you to live a life that is led by His Spirit.

In Romans 8:14 [we read,] “for all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

It is possible to hear the voice of the Lord, to follow His leading and plan for your life, because God is still speaking. He’s still seeking to save those who are lost, still searching for those who desire to know Him more. He’s still loving you, still waiting patiently for you.

How many of you could use a double dose of God’s goodness in your life today? How many of you would welcome more of God’s peace in your life today, more of God’s joy and love? It’s important to remember … that these qualities will be in the lives of people who are devoted to Him, those who invite God to work in their life.

David acknowledged God’s goodness in his life in Psalm 23, Verses 1 through 6. But despite its worldwide popularity, this Psalm is not for everyone. It is applicable only to those who are entitled to say: “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

It is true that the Good Shepherd died for all, but only those who actually receive Him by a definite act of faith are His sheep. His saving work is sufficient for all, but it is effective only for those who actually believe in Him.

Everything in this Scripture passage hinges on the personal pronoun “my.” Unless He is my Shepherd, then the rest of the Psalm does not belong to me. On the other hand, if He is really mine and I am His, then I have everything in Him.

You have a decision to make: Will you accept the Good Shepherd and make the same proclamation that David made: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”?

Will you adopt God’s goodness, love and faithfulness, and implement the qualities of the Good Shepherd into your life?

You see … just like David, you can have an attitude of faith that says that you will believe [in] God for His provision. You can be a person who freely shares with others, the good things that God has given you. Share them with your family, friends and anyone you come into contact with — even those who don’t like you or mistreat you.

I know some of you may be tempted to leave these good qualities at home when you go to the mall and stand in that never-ending line. But, God has made it possible for you to be so filled with His goodness, with His good qualities, with the fruit of His Spirit, that others notice it.

It impacts what your thoughts entertain, what comes out of your mouth, how you treat others, how you walk around at work and treat your co-workers. Displaying these godly qualities are a wonderful statement to those around you that says: “God’s doing something in my life.”

It’s so true … that when we extend goodness and love to those around us, God gives us even more in return. Your cup will truly run over with the goodness of God as you pass it on to others.

Some hold the opinion that people who are wealthy and successful are so only after they have had the means to be generous. Not so. I believe that long before any successful person ever “made it,” they lived a life full of sacrifice, hard work and generosity.

Don’t be the type of person who waits for someone else to make the first move. Decide to share God’s goodness long before someone deserves it. Be a person who shares your generosity long before you have the means to be.

Have an attitude of faith to allow goodness to flow from your life to others.

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