Are you as frustrated as I am? Are you tired of identity politics, cancel culture, and divisive opinions? Do you want things to be uncomplicated, and truthful, and peaceful?
If you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and if you believe that in Him, God walked this earth as a man, then by emulating Christ and His perspectives, you will be what God wants you to be. And that’s good.
I think it’s powerful to describe something simply as “good.” We need simplicity, right? Our world is so polluted with man’s ideas, words, opinions, notions, and the failure of them all to bring us peace and harmony. To remove all of that pollution and to silence all that noise, wouldn’t it help if we could simply categorize things as “good” or “not good.”
How nice would this conversation be: Child, “Dad, my teacher said that George Washington was a racist;” Dad, “That’s not good.” Or maybe: Child, “Mom, I helped a kid at school;” Mom, “That’s good.”
From the moment the serpent slithered up to Eve in the Garden of Eden, the forces of evil have muddied everything. Many years and many generations later, having been lied to about so much for so long, we can’t really trust our perspectives. The Bible makes this clear with a stern warning. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Only by constant reference to the Bible, can we “renew our minds” and reframe our thinking, casting out the ways of men, their schemes, their powerplays, their self-reliance, and their self-righteousness to get back to what is simply “good” or “not good.”
And if you’re wondering why I’m not saying, “good” or “bad,” it’s because I worry that saying “bad” creates an opportunity for people to introduce themselves back into the opinion game, back into a place of shading and humanistic relativity. If God tells us what is good, then whatever is not of God is not good. So, I simplify my life and do my best to remove my perspectives by saying that something is either “good” or “not good.”
How do I know which is which? I read my Bible constantly, knowing that God’s ways will filter out man’s ways and provide me with a trustworthy perspective of absolutely everything. Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Acting justly, and having mercy and humility have one thing in common; they require less of me and the world and more of God. That’s good, right?
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You can also tell what’s good by whether or not something bears good fruit. Do you remember the movie, “Forrest Gump?” Well, Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand what he meant when I first watched a movie. Having watched the news and politics over the last decade, I now understand precisely what it means.
If something is good, it will bear good fruit. It will promote what Galatians 5:22-23 refer to as the fruits of the spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If it’s good, you won’t have to lie about it or cover it up. It won’t require shading or the manipulation of words. If it’s good, the things that come from it will be good; people will be lifted up, more joyful, more prepared to deal with a difficult world, encouraged in the Truth, better able to understand and cope with the reality of their situations, and we will be more unified. Matthew 7:16-20 puts it this way; “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
If you’re frustrated by the fruit of this world – the lies, the paradoxes, the pretenses, the divisiveness, and the fallen ways of men – pick up your Bible and turn to the Book of John, chapter 1, verse 1 to learn what is truly good. Let John’s words speak peace into your heart. Verse 14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” It’s that simple; know that you are loved by God, think about His grace – His undeserved gifts – and then be good fruit, thinking about what is good and doing good.
Jesus modeled this for us. He trusted Scripture for His opinions. He avoided distractions and He focused on His Father’s business. He spoke Truth simply and plainly. He loved people and He relied on compassion to be His compass. He didn’t fear men or their evil ways. He walked away from useless arguments and He did good in the world, though the world hated him. He fed the hungry with bread and the Word of God, He healed the sick and returned them to service in God’s kingdom, He questioned lies and liars calmly, openly, and in public, and by His example, He taught us.
Jesus showed us what good is and what a good life looks like. We can live good lives, simply, peacefully, and powerfully by following Him. There is good, and it can be us. And that’s courageous Christianity.
Do you have a simple story about someone doing good? Please share it with us. We all need good news.
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Colonel Richard Mendelow (Ret) is the host of “Courageous Christianity with Richard Mendelow,” a radio show on 100.7 FM in Houston, Texas, live streamed at KKHT.com, and podcasted on any podcast app. When he’s not flying Boeing 777s for a major airline, he leads the Courageous Christianity Ministry which equips Christian warriors for the spiritual battlefield; helping men stand firm at the intersection of their faith and the secular world.