January 22, 2012

For Goodness' Sake

Ephesians 5:1-14

Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness …).
Ephesians 5:8-9


An old poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” There’s a lot of wisdom in those words. They teach us that choices have consequences.

That’s certainly true when it comes to practicing goodness. People who want to grow in goodness try to obey the command in today’s Scripture to “find out what pleases the Lord.” And, as we can see, that command has both a positive and a negative application. Living as children of light means both doing what is good and not doing what is evil.

Good and evil actions are radically different from each other, as much as light is different from darkness. But there is one thing they have in common: the more we practice them, the more skilled we become at doing them. That’s because the things we do shape the kind of people we are. Choices develop character.

When you tell a lie, for example, you not only say something untrue; you become a liar. This explains why honest people don’t cheat. They know that only cheaters do that, and that is not the kind of person they want to become.

Place a high premium on the fruit of goodness! You’ll discover that the bigger it gets, the sweeter it tastes.

Lord, forgive us for all we do wrong. Help us to live in the light of your goodness and grace so that everyone will know we belong to you. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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