He who does good is of God……….” 3 John 1:11

“….not having my own righteousness…but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God….”  Philippians 3:13

There are cars of every imaginable size, shape and price range.  There are cars that drive themselves. There are cars that turn into airplanes, that have $12,000 cup holders.  There is a car that sells for 1.3 million dollars.  Is this post about cars; heavens no.  The thing is a car is supposed to be a mode of transportation.  For all the bells and whistles a car might have built into it, if a car is incapable of functioning, if it has no fuel, then what real good is it?  Whether gasoline or diesel, electric battery or solar powered, there was actually even a nuclear powered car design at one time, for a car to fulfill its function, it must have some sort of power source, some sort of fuel to make it go.

When we look at the human species these days, there seems to be some confusion about what is good and where does that good come from.  Many would have you believe that a person’s ability to do good comes primarily from their environment.   That is to say if a person eats healthy, gets plenty of rest, exercises regularly, is able to get a good education, is shown respect and love from family; then they are bound to do and be good.  There are those that would argue it is has much to do with their genetic makeup.  Are their genes arranged in such a way that there are no mutated abnormalities that would lead to psychopathic or antisocial behavior, if so; they will be good.  Some would throw in habits, like meditation or lifestyles like vegan that bring about good in the practitioners.  And please understand I am not against good habits that help to build body, mind and spirit.

Yet Jesus makes it very plain when he asks the rich young man who comes to see him and starts the conversation by calling Jesus “good”:  “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone”, that no person is capable of being good on their own.  Goodness comes only from our Heavenly Father.

Okay, you might ask:  If it takes God to be good, then how do I go about getting on His “good side”?  I know, you might say to yourself or I might say to myself, I’ll study!  I’ll read the bible cover to cover and then start again.  I’ll memorize every verse.  I’ll read all the great theologians.  That way I’ll learn to be good.  Or maybe good comes from going to church.  So I’ll go to every service offered, I’ll sing in the choir, I’ll be on every committee, then I can rightly be called good.  Again, study of the word is vitally important and I believe in going to church.

But back to our car analogy, it is possible to put regular gasoline into a diesel engine (please don’t test this out) and have the engine run.  However, the engine will not run for a very long time and in the meantime you will have probably destroyed the diesel engine beyond repair.  Why?  The simple truth is you can’t force something that is designed to function one way to try and function in some other radically different way and expect it to function properly.

So for us to do anything that relies on our own efforts, our own studies, our own thoughts or plans, even our own righteousness and expect that it will make us good, will not only not work but chances are will be ultimately self destructive in the process.  Good comes down to us by grace and mercy as a gift from Our Heavenly Father.  To even begin to accept the gift we must first humble ourselves acknowledging our inability to be good on our own.  We must accept that we are fallen and in need of a savior.  Then we need to proclaim that again, in magnificent love and mercy, Our Heavenly Father has done just that; provided us a Savior in His Son, Jesus Christ.  By calling upon and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior then we can be open to the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Upon receiving the Holy Spirit and being shown the way by Him, we can begin to understand the concept of good and attempt to live that concept into our lives.  But we must always understand that whatever good we might become, it all starts and ends with Jesus Christ.

And here’s one more amazing final thing; the price.  For most of us, fuel has this rollercoaster kind of cost to it.  There have been times when people have to decide between paying bills, even buying food and being able to put fuel in their vehicle.  What does it cost for us receive good from God?  What monumental payment will we have to make to be able to tap into God’s goodness that we may be able to do good?  It cost Jesus Christ everything; His very life.  For you and I, it is a gift, given freely.  So let it be that first we genuinely desire to do and be good.  Second, let us understand that we are wholly incapable of being or doing good on our own.  Finally, let us call out to Our Heavenly Father; proclaiming the miraculous salvation that we have in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, asking for Him to come into our lives that then and only then can we do and be in the act of becoming; good.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we confess that we often feel ourselves to be good on our own or look to worldly efforts to make ourselves good.  Forgive us Dear Father and pour out Your Spirit upon us that we might understand that none are or can become good without first coming to You.  Help us to be humble, declaring that we are in need of salvation and that salvation comes on from Your Son Jesus Christ.  That in a relationship with Jesus Christ, we may find ourselves on our way to becoming good.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen