Trying to Be Good


Relax! Spiritual growth comes from an intimate, connected relationship with Jesus Christ—not from trying to "be good."

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4, NIV).

As a child I worked hard to be good. In Sunday school I wanted to be the one who'd memorized the memory verse. In junior high I kept my locker perfectly clean and turned in my homework on time. Even today, as a grown woman, if I don’t have my lesson finished I consider not going to my Bible study. A part of me would rather sit at home and miss seeing my friends than show up with blank answers on the page. How sad is that?

For many years I faced Christianity the same way. I wanted to be good. I wanted to be Jesus’ star follower. I memorized the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22–23 and kept a mental list in my mind. “Loving—check. Joyful—check. Peaceful—got it.”

The thing is, the fruit of the Spirit is exactly that—the growth that blooms out of an intimate, connected relationship with Jesus Christ. This fruit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control were never meant to be something I achieved from my own strength. As I spent mornings with Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit came as He bloomed in my life throughout the day.

FAITH STEP: The fruit of the Spirit is a result of Jesus’ Spirit flowing out of us in good times and challenging ones. In what aspect of your life have you tried to “be good”? What is one step you can take that will welcome Jesus into your life—your soul—each day so that fruit will start to blossom up out of you?

Written by Tricia Goyer

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