The Spirit-Led Home: Goodness

The trenches of parenting can be an overwhelming. As born-again believers, we are so grateful to have the resource of the Spirit to lead us and guide us in teaching and training our little ones. Today, we will focus on the fruit of goodness in the life of a believing mom.

What is the fruit of goodness?

Galatians 5:22-23 says that a person led by the Spirit of God displays the fruit of goodness in her life. But what is “good”, anyway? As moms, we often use the word “good” in our everyday language, saying things like:

“Be a good boy and throw this in the trash can!”“I liked how good you were at the store today.”“You did a good job cleaning up the blocks!”

The terms of goodness and kindness seem to get mixed up. But we see if we look at the word “goodness” in Galatians 5:22, it has the idea of moral excellence or morality. Morality is “that which agrees with God”[1], while something "immoral" is against God’s design or commands. Peter uses the same word when he talks about believers having goodness that comes from God,

He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence[2].

Because God has intrinsic moral excellence, we, as believers, are able to have it as well. Moral excellence leads to a reputation of virtue which characterizes someone’s life.As parents, we can show goodness by first loving what God loves and hating what God hates[3]. We ourselves must be convinced of what the Scriptures teach and then have integrity to live out the principles and commands of the Bible.

Living Out Morality without Hypocrisy

One of the most difficult aspects of morality and goodness is to live without hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the pretense of goodness, the outward appearance of virtue, but all the while practicing activities or thoughts that contradict your beliefs

.A main complaint from children who fall away from their faith in their teens and college years is that they lived in a home which they felt was hypocritical.  They had parents who said they believed in God, but their parents didn't live out their beliefs in their home.Here are two things to consider when practicing the fruit of goodness without double standards.

  1. Are you living out morality in a way that makes the gospel attractive or a nuisance to your children?

  2. Are you apologizing to your children for keeping them from worldliness?

Are we parents that live out morality in a way that makes the gospel attractive to our children?

The gospel. The glorious news that Christ has saved us from a sinful and dying world. That we have been taken from guilt and shame over our wrongdoing and made righteous through Christ’s perfection. To the believer, God’s way is never a burden. Living righteously should never feel oppressive, yet sometimes we make comments to our children that make it seem so.Often I hear moms make comments such as:

“We can’t say that word”.“We can’t go to that sporting event because it is during church service”.“We have to go to the nursing home today to visit the shut-ins”.

Do we ourselves feel like we are missing out when God has commanded us to forsake some particular worldly sin or commanded us in a particular area? Isn’t it a privilege to worship Jesus freely? Isn’t it a reality that we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live but Christ lives in us and controls us? Isn’t it an honor to serve the Lord in any ministry context? Shouldn’t we be saying statements like:

“We get to go worship the Lord this morning with the other believers and sing to Him!”

“I wouldn’t want to miss Sunday worship for a sporting event. Let’s watch something that is on a Saturday.”

“Maybe by helping the elderly people, we get an opportunity to talk to them about eternal life. This is the most important thing we can do is to share the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Do We Apologize When We Keep Our Children from Worldliness?

If we are people who mostly exhibit virtue in our lives, we must also not feel badly to require moral excellence in our Christian home, even with our unsaved children. If we are convinced that God’s ways fulfill our live, then natural outcome would be to live like that in our homes.We must not be apologetic for the activities we cannot participate in.

We must not regret the movies we cannot see or the books we cannot read.  Why would we apologize  to our children from keeping them from worldliness when we understand it is poison for their soul? Has not God called us out of darkness into his marvelous light? This is why the Apostle Peter urges all believers to “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul”.

An Illustration: God’s Good Design for Marriage

One age-old example of God’s will for the human race is to agree with God’s design for one- man and one-woman marriage which finds sexual fulfillment in that God ordained union. God said in Genesis 1 that it was not good for man to be alone so he provided Eve to enter into a one-flesh relationship with Adam. From the beginnings, God chronicled people trying to deviate from His good (moral) plan of sexuality. Reading through the Pentateuch, you will find an example or a law against every sexual deviation including: having more than one spouse, sex before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, incest and bestiality.

Any deviation from God’s good plan would be called sin because it is different than He intended; therefore immoral.  Most importantly we learn in Ephesians 5 that God always had in His mind to make marriage a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.

With this in mind, I display goodness by not participating in any activity that would draw me away from God’s good design in marriage. I don’t watch anything that would encourage or tempt me to lust after another man. My husband doesn’t want to put himself in a tempting situation by watching something with immodest women or listening to songs that encourage sensuality outside of the marriage union.

So when there is a movie that has unmarried people living together and makes it seems normal, I don’t apologize that we “can’t” watch it. When a movie is encouraging a woman to leave her unromantic husband for someone else, I don’t apologize that we won’t buy the movie for our home. I question the goodness of rooting for the Phantom of the Opera to get Christine or thinking Mr. Rochester is romantic even though he lied and tried to marry another woman while his crazy wife was still alive and locked up in the attic.

While we may watch or read something with morals different from the Bible, we must not embrace them and allow them to guide our hearts. The hard part is when others (including those in the church) are raving about some movie, book or song that is advocating activities or lifestyle against God design and making it sound okay. It is important for us to evaluate the content in light of God’s Word and make a judgment whether it is promoting health for our souls or at least not detracting from it, and graciously state, “I think this is pulling our hearts away from God’s good design for marriage because…..” Moral excellence is a fruit that is lacking in professing believers today otherwise there would not be such a high divorce rate or pornographic viewing among so called Christians.

I would also plead with you to consider the age of which you give your children unlimited access to the world wide web and how much screen time you give your toddlers. If we want to teach our children and lead them to Christ, then we must first and foremost be devoted to those activities that will produce that kind of fruit.

Helping Your Child Discern Between Good and Evil

I cannot stress enough the practice of consistent teaching of God’s word to bring discernment of what is good and evil. This will be the best spiritual immune booster for you and your children

.The other rule of thumb my husband and I have practiced is to never stray away from difficult issues and to explain them from the Bible with an age appropriate explanation. For example, we never skipped the stories in the Bible that were morbid and horrific, we just explained them as what God hated and brought judgment as a result. “It made God sad that the men in Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to take the men as if they were married. God doesn’t want men to 'be married' to men or to animals. He wants them to be married to one wife.” Children do not view stories sexually until they see it or is explained to them. When we say that a man commits adultery. A child only knows that Daddy lives with another woman; the child doesn’t think about intimate acts if he/she hasn’t seen them.

This is why protecting our children from internet when they are young is so important. Underage exposure can do so much damage. I have a friend who turns off the Wifi each night before bed because that’s what was needed in her home. She didn’t apologize for what she knew to do, she just responded kindly to any complaints. What else would we do but live out moral excellence in our homes? It is a part of who we are as believers.Though I gave the example of God’s thoughts and design for marriage, there are many other topics we could have discussed such as: God's view of money, success, partying, alcoholism, drug abuse, corruption, or witchcraft. These are relevant subjects for our time and should be studied and discussed in the home.

  • Do you think about those things which God loves and talk about it with your children?

  • Do you, yourself, love what God loves?

  • Do you hate what God hates, and help your children to hate it too or do you apologize to your children because they can’t participate in something the Bible calls evil?

  • Do you read the scriptures with your children to teach and affirm moral excellence?

  • Do you thank God that as a believer, you have moral excellence because of Christ’s work on the cross and the gift of the Spirit in our life?

[1] Noah Webster, 1828 [2] 2 Peter 1:4b-5a [3] Psalm 97:10