Did Jesus really mean that no one is good but God alone? I think He did. This means that no one, absolutely no one knows what is good, and conversely no one knows what is bad… outside the Lord telling them. Yet we hear people inform us of what is good and bad all the time. People say, “So-in-so is bad and so-in-so is good. Why doesn’t God do something about ______ bad things and why doesn’t He do more _____ good things.”
If believers are not careful they will even fall prey to thinking and speaking like this. Eventually, not discerning good from bad will affect your belief system.
What if I told you that you personally don’t know good from bad, would you believe me?
What Is Actually Good?
How then do we determine what is “good” … and what isn’t “good”? You probably already have a belief system in place to process goodness. The best way to know goodness is to use Jesus’ system.
And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:16-17
Jesus wanted this rich young ruler to teach Him the standard of good. The young seeker was like most people. He thought the good life consisted of good things, good circumstances, and good feelings. In other words… if it was good to him personally, then it was good. He had been earnestly keeping most of the Ten Commandments from his youth. Like most people I know, he thought by keeping these good commandments he was good enough for heaven.
According to Jesus – Good is defined by source (God) not by experience. Follow my logic here. Anything that is good, comes from God because God is good. If it is not from God, then it isn’t good. If something isn’t good, then it didn’t come from God. It doesn’t matter how good it looks… how good it feels… how good it tastes …. if it doesn’t come from God, then it isn’t good. Also, if it isn’t good, then it didn’t come from God. Can you agree?
Most of us can look at these last statements and understand that this is how it ought to work. The Bible says, “God is good.” Jesus confirms God is good… Therefore, only good can come from Him. But, our experience and circumstances betray how we really process goodness. This is how we really process goodness.
Spinach didn’t come from God but chocolate did. There will be no spinach in heaven. Spinach is a result of the fall of man. It is a part of the curse God placed upon the ground. As a result, people in hell will eat spinach and people in heaven will consume boat loads of chocolate. How did I come to this conclusion? I am being facetious of course, because I don’t like spinach. In fact, I might even be allergic to it. Conversely, I love chocolate… all chocolate. It is good. It tastes good and it feels good in my mouth. In fact, I love just about all things dipped in the stuff. The truth is (as much as I hate to admit it) spinach is good for you. It even provides a spiritual lesson for us today.
Here is the point: Good is not determined by experience, it is only discerned by discovering it’s source. I may have had a bad experience with spinach, turnips, and cauliflower but that doesn’t determine whether they are good or bad. Goodness is determined by its Creator, not by any experience. In reality, chocolate tastes good all the time. Chocolate makes me feel good in limited quantities. In fact, chocolate has a soothing attribute about it which makes many people happy, happy, happy. But a steady diet of only chocolate wouldn’t be good for me. Why? Experience is not the gold standard for goodness.
Likewise, you can never determine whether what you are going through is either good or bad by how you feel or by what you are experiencing…. never! If feelings, experience, and circumstances are your guides you will miss goodness every time. The only way to know whether something is good or bad is by knowing who authored it.
Paul and Silas were in jail. Peter and John found themselves in jail too. By all objective assessments, jail was bad. But no… they considered it good and rejoiced. This explains why most believers simply collapse in trying circumstances… they are only looking for a chocolate experience.
This is why most believers do not know how, why, and what to pray for in difficult circumstances. They pray for “bad” things (chocolate) and neglect praying for God’s “good things” (spinach). They never take time to discern something’s source.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
Every good thing has God as its source. God only produces that which is good. We might use it for a bad purpose (marijuana, cocaine, alcohol) … but goodness is determined by its source, not by experience.
Today, ask God if what you are going through is from Him. Stop attempting to discern your circumstances and problems. Our call as believers is to discern the Lord and the Lord’s will. Psychics and mediums strive to interpret circumstances. Believers seek the Lord. Only the Lord can teach us whether something is good or bad. He also knows how to take the bad in life and make something good out of it. More on this next time.
Blessings – From God’s Incubator,