As He was leaving on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”
At some point long ago we were all children. If you are like me, you struggled with being a good kid. I remember times when I desired to do the right thing for the right person either to impress them or make them happy. Sometimes a good act was done for reward or recognition. In my world, I did not want to be seen as a bad kid. I thought there was value in being good, but that does not mean that I was essentially good. None of us starts out essentially good. The forces that tug at our thoughts and actions beginning when we are mere babes pull us in the direction of self-service. It takes a force that is essentially good to create anything good within us.
The fact that God alone is good speaks to the source and purpose of goodness. This proclamation by Jesus means that God is only good. Anything that fights against goodness is not within him. God cannot be evil or have evil or do evil. That is not the case with us as we come into this world being evil and need God so that we can do good. In fact, the Bible encourages us to not tire of doing good, especially to the brethren. Those words only exist because it is possible for us to do good even though we are not essentially good. This happens when we allow God’s goodness to operate through us. When we let the Spirit work through us, we can only be good. The Spirit is pure and has not been defiled, and He can do no evil. He wants to see goodness abound.
No one can give what he or she does not have. In order for us to do good things that come from the right place, good things done solely because they are the right thing to do and not out of self-interest, we first must receive that goodness from God. No person has this within. If we are good to others it is because we are allowing God to work through us. Without God, we may do what is good because of what we get or how it makes us look or feel. With God, we do what is good simply because that is what we ought to do. We do what is good simply for the sake of seeing goodness abound. Father, thank You that You are good to us, and help us surrender and allow your goodness to work through us for others.