For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 1:6 NET (emphasis added)
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God.
–Philippians 2:12-13 NET
Have you ever had someone ask, “Are you being good?” I usually reply, “Most of the time!” This casual comment reveals a deeper reality. While the definition of “good” may differ to some degree based on who asks it, there seems to be an expectation that we all should strive to be “good.” There also seems to be an assumption that we can achieve that goal. Yet the Bible is clear that we all fall short of the glory (goodness) of God (Romans 3:23). So, are we destined to always fail?
The answer is: It depends! If we try to be good in our own strength, we will fail. But there is another option. If we put our trust in God, we ultimately will succeed! That is why the Gospel is so revolutionary. As Paul told the Christ-followers (saints) in Philippi, God is at work making us good! In fact, He brings forth in us both the desire and the effort to be obedient to Him
Let that sink in for a moment. It is not solely up to us to keep it…good. Yes, we do make choices. Yes, we are to be obedient. But unlike any other religion or human philosophy, Christianity is about living out the goodness that God has already implanted in us. We have a new power and a new desire to keep it good!
So how do we live out this goodness that God has put into us as believers? Paul unpacks this in many of his letters to the churches. It starts with recognizing our identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:27) and continues by the actions we take that are based on our faith in who Christ is and what He has done (Colossians 2:6-7).
Bottom line, just as we are saved by faith, we also “keep it…good” by faith. The pressure is off to create goodness in ourselves. Let us rather unleash the goodness that God put in us when we became His children!
ACTION: In what ways do you struggle to be good (as God defines it)? How do you normally respond when you fail to live up to the goodness you wish to achieve? What would it be like to take simple steps of obedience in faith, trusting that God is at work making you into the godly (good) person He wants you to be?