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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Did You Meme That? - A Good Woman?




By Mary Stephens
with assistance from a friend.
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First of all, let's consider the issue of looks.

We are told in Proverbs 31:30,  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

We should be more concerned about our relationship with the Lord and our testimony for Him than we are about our outward appearance. Although the point of this meme is to emphasize that there is a more important value for a woman, we should still ask if it is the right one.

Psalm 53:2-3 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Are We Good Women?


We are clearly told in the Bible that none of us are righteous and that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. In other words, none of us are "good" in and of ourselves.

Matthew 19:16-17 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

In this passage Jesus was telling the man who asked this, in essence, "If you don't recognize me as God, then don't call me 'good.'" Why? Because our human perception of goodness is not the same as God's. In His estimation of goodness He is the only One who is good. In our estimation all kinds of things and people are good. The only real goodness worth having, then, is God's goodness.

This meme claims that a woman will lose her pretty face and her body will change with age, but that if she is "a good woman" she will always have her own goodness to fall back on to give her value. The problem is we have no real goodness of our own.

The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10,  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the
heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

And again, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23.

Some people imagine themselves to be "good" because they do "good" things. But, all of our righteousnesses and good works are as filthy rags. In the sight of God they are worthless.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 

We, by our own sinful nature, want to be lifted up and admired for what we see as our good works. We like to admire ourselves and our accomplishments. This is pride, even in its most benign forms.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 

Pride in our worthless "goodness" is a sure path to destruction. To be proud of ourselves for being "good" and resting in that is very dangerous. Human "goodness" is more perishable than we are ourselves and we are no better than withering grass and fading flowers (Isaiah 40:7-8). We are told in Galatians 6:3, For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. It is nothing but self-deception to think we are good and that our goodness is enduring.

A Goodness that Endures


The meme says that a "good woman" will always be good. Will we always be good people - with or without good looks? Since we are technically not good to begin with, that is impossible from the very start. Even those who trust Christ as Savior are still sinners. (1 John 1:8-10)

It is important to understand that true goodness is a fruit of the Spirit of God because only God is good. Without His Spirit in us we cannot produce true goodness.

Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Some people talk about a person being "good at heart" even when some of their actions are obviously not good. But, can we trust in our own hearts or feelings?

God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Good or evil proceed from the heart. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 12:34-35: O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. We can only become truly good at heart through salvation and being changed inside so that we bear the fruit of the Spirit.

When a person chooses to trust their own heart or goodness, they will reap the fruit of that. The fruit of the Spirit is eternal life, but fruit of the perishing flesh is death. Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Humanly speaking there are people who appear to be better than others. They may seem "good" on the outside, but it's what is inside that counts. The Pharisees are prime examples of this. Even though they appeared very religious and good on the outside, their hearts were vile. Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 

You see, fleshly goodness will eventually produce corruption. You won't "always" be "good" just because you appear to be at one time. Only God's goodness will last forever. This is why we can trust in God and what He says about His own goodness and the goodness of His Son. We can trust Him with our hearts. We can trust Him to give us of His goodness for our eternal good. His goodness is the only goodness worth having because He Himself will keep on being good eternally. Every person who trusts Christ as their Savior can fully rely upon His goodness.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Jesus Christ is good, so we should hold fast to Him and place our trust for all future goodness in Him!

Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Relying on the Goodness of God


So, how can we rely on God’s goodness? How can we see God's goodness revealed in our lives?

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

We will see God's goodness in our own lives by walking in the Spirit. We will see it through reading and obeying His word, and by trusting in and cleaving to the living word - Jesus Christ. The fellowship and edification of godly music and teaching can also help bring the goodness of God into our lives, as we read in Colossians 3:16-17: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Someone may be thinking, "I thought Christians are supposed to do good work."

Well, yes. We are. However, as we trust in Christ to lead our lives, reading His Word and talking to him through prayer, He will produce the fruit or good works in us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It is God's purpose and plan that we should walk in good works. We are created in Christ to do this for the glory of the Father in heaven. When we do our good works as unto Christ, and not as a vain shew for man (see Matthew 6), we can know that they will be rewarded according to His good pleasure and that we are glorifying Him.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

When we obey the word of God, resting in the power of the resurrection and the blood of Christ's covenant, we can have the joy of knowing our good works are well-pleasing in the sight of the Lord, and that they will last, not in our strength or goodness, but in His. Anyone who trusts Christ as Savior should rest in God's goodness and promises. He will guide, keep, and provide for us and never forsake us. He will also make us fruitful in the good works according to His will and purpose as we follow the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion


Dear reader, if you have not trusted in Jesus Christ alone and His finished work on the cross, then all you have to trust in is your own goodness. As we have seen, that is a very dangerous place to put our trust. Relying on anything but Christ for salvation will lead to eternal loss because there are only two places we can go after this life - heaven or hell. If you trust in your own goodness you will end up in hell - a place God never intended for you to be.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Lord lovingly lets all of us choose what we will trust in and, therefore, our eternal destination. Remember that all our good works are as filthy rags. Your good works will not gain you favor with God or eternal salvation. Only faith in Jesus Christ and the ultimate good work He did through His death, burial, and resurrection can bring salvation.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 

When God finished creating the heavens and the earth on the sixth day, we are told in Genesis 1:31 that "...it was very good..." Adam chose to sin and disobey God's direct command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and so he brought sin upon the entire human race and creation. The original goodness of mankind was permanently lost. Only Jesus Christ's sacrifice upon the cross can restore that to us spiritually.

Now your sin will keep you from heaven if you choose to reject the payment Christ made for us. You will then be forced to make that payment yourself, and you cannot. Jesus, the Son of God, paid the ultimate price to make us truly good with the goodness that only God can give. But, the choice is yours. If you haven't done this, I encourage you choose this day to trust Jesus Christ and receive the goodness and salvation that are only found in and through Him.

If you are already a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, then you need to think on a different aspect of this. Trusting in our own goodness as our source of value is ultimately just as wasteful as trusting in our good looks. Our goodness is actually more fragile and fading than our physical appearance is. Let's trust in the goodness of God and seek to bring forth the good fruit that He has willed for us to bear through His Son. Then we will have something of eternal value, something that won't pass away with the worthless "goodness" of this world.

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 

2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I like this verse from the Old Testament. It reminds me of how we can now live as Christians through the power of Christ in our lives. Ultimately this is how to truly be "good women" that please God.

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?


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