January is a great month to consider and implement new habits. We usually think along the lines of physical health like diet and exercise. However, we should not neglect thinking about what adjustments we can make to our spiritual health. Today’s blog can help to focus our heart and mind in this direction. Joshua Nangle, with the School of Divinity at Regent University, challenges us to look for opportunities to do good in the workplace. This is a worthy challenge even if we are not back in our traditional offices. Happy reading and Happy 2022!
Ecclesiastes 3 begins by saying, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccles. 3:1, ESV). Every day is an opportunity to demonstrate the goodness of God to our colleagues, but the new year provides a great opportunity to refocus our efforts on sharing the goodness of God with our coworkers.
We are in the middle of a series on the application of the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace, and this installment focuses on goodness. In the fifth chapter of his letter to the churches in Galatia, the Apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness…” As we seek to demonstrate the goodness of God, we must recognize this begins by faithfully seeking the Spirit’s leading in our daily lives. Goodness is a result of the Spirit’s work in our lives, and as we submit our will to the will of the Spirit, the goodness of God will be the result.
As we discussed previously, “good” does not mean “less than great.” In this context, good is a qualitative characteristic describing the nature and motive of God. The Spirit seeks to demonstrate goodness through our lives and through our work, and I think we could all agree we need more goodness in our workplaces. For the sake of this discussion, the goodness of God is defined as “the nature of God displayed through good works.”
For example, when we read the creation narrative in Genesis 1-2, we see the goodness of God demonstrated through his works of creation, which he described as “good.” God is good, and he demonstrates his goodness by creating good things. The beauty and inherent goodness of creation in Genesis 1-2 is a declaration to the universe of God’s goodness.
Saved for Works, Not By Them
Any time we discuss good works, we must clarify we are not promoting a works-based righteousness. There is no righteousness in ourselves except that which we receive by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are not saved because of our good works, but we are saved for good works. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
Notice Paul says we are God’s workmanship, which means God has done a good work in our lives through the redeeming work of Christ. It is God’s grace, received through faith in Christ and in his redeeming work, that provides salvation. Paul continues by stating that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” This means the action of a person who has surrendered their life to Christ and who is following the leading of the Spirit should be good works that glorify God.