Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why do good things?

Over my lifetime I have made some discoveries. One is that doing things well, and doing good things often will mean taking more time, expending more energy, being more careful, and even paying a higher cost in the end. Quite frankly, doing the wrong things or doing things poorly under the guise of "that's good enough" is much easier and, I have found, often comes more naturally! So, why do good things? And why do things well?

Here are my thoughts:

1) We start with the obvious. Do good things and do them well because God commands this of us. God demands, through His Law, that our behavior align with His standards. So, we do good things, and we do things well because to do so is to be obedient to God.

2) Doing good things and doing things well demonstrates that we are associated with God. Jesus said that people will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16) while Paul exhorts us to do everything - both actions and words - in the Name (up to the standards of) of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17) and to walk (live) in a way that is worthy of the Gospel message of Christ (Philippians 1:27). It appears that our actions provide evidence that we're truly part of God's family.

3) Doing good things testifies to our own hearts that the Spirit of God is indeed, within us, and that our faith in Christ has not been spurious. This seems to be James' theme when he says we should be joyful when the fire of trials heat up around us because it is during these times that we are best able to validate our spiritual health. Do we still respond to trials the way unbelievers do? Are we more patient than last year? more godly? If so, then there is evidence that the Spirit is alive and well and at home in our hearts.

4) Good works, done well act as vehicles of common grace in our world, and demonstrate the redemptive mission of Christ by which He will one day reclaim and reform all of creation. Good works make for a better society, better neighborhoods, a better environment, and have a host of other beneficial consequences for our broken world.

5) Good works, done well also create a platform of good will. In Titus, 8 times Paul urges Titus to have the Cretan believers be zealous and ready to engage in good works. Why? Because good works create a platform of good will from which to declare the Good News. This is where benevolence comes in for the believer, and for the church. While our care and concern for those around us - demonstrated in good deeds - will make for a better society, their primary usefulness is in creating an open door into lives through which the transforming message of Christ may pass.

Hope this helps,



At 8:53 AM , Blogger Alan said...

I like what you say and how you say it. I am never disappointed when reading your words or listening to you in church or in the car (CD). God speaks through you and peals away the veneer I've glued on top of bad habits and wrong thinking and I thank you and especially God for that.

By the way, the scout motto is "Do a good turn daily" which follows the principles outlined in the scout oath to do their best for God, their country and to help other people at all time.


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