Guest Post: The Why Wrestler on Goodness
I am thrilled to have my first guest post ever on this site. Laura Garry writes on the why questions of our faith. She has some deeply encouraging thoughts on the goodness of God and what it means for us.
It would be a strange sight if we looked out our window and witnessed our neighbor hanging plastic fruit on their backyard trees. Yet, as Christ-followers, sometimes we have a similar approach to the Fruit of the Spirit. We mistakenly believe that bearing God’s fruit translates to an intense focus on being good and doing the right thing.
Fruit, however, grows in connection to the tree. Fruit separated from a tree’s life-giving nutrients will spoil. Often, as Christians, we produce plastic and rotten fruit due to our reliance on human effort alone. Instead of staying connected to the vine as Jesus teaches in John 15, we rely on ourselves rather than God.
I know because I did. After years of striving to be good without the harvest of continual fruit, I fell into a terrible season of anxiety and depression. I believed in God’s goodness, but my experience felt void of what I knew to be true.
I thought, “Why would a good God, who witnessed a young woman trying desperately to be good, not create consistent goodness through the effort?”
Over time, I realized through prayer and God’s word that my focus on being good distanced me from seeking God.
The more we seek God in prayer and Scripture, the less dependent we become on ourselves to live a good and holy life. Our focus becomes less about following rules and more about the intimate relationship waiting for us in Jesus.
In moving closer to Jesus, we learn to draw from Him. The source of the Fruit of the Spirit is not dependent on us but Him. We begin to live good and holy lives not out of drudgery but out of a desire to grow closer to our good Father by the power of His Holy Spirit at work within us.
God’s goodness not only works in us but through us for the benefit of others, as the Apostle Paul references in Galatians 6:10. The more we drink from His well through prayer and Scripture, the less dependent we become on ourselves to live a good and holy life, and the more we rely on Him as the source of goodness for our experience. We taste and see the Lord is good, and our lives then begin to express the goodness we receive to others.
1 Peter 2:1-3 “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Tasting and seeing the Lord is good comes first. The more we taste and see the Lord is good by growing in our relationship with Him, the more goodness will rise from the soil of our soul, producing fruit that shines His goodness through us to the world.
Are you longing for spiritual growth? Laura D. Garry, aka The Why Wrestler, believes life-change in Christ is possible as one wrestles with the whys of thoughts, feelings, and actions. A devotional and Bible study writer with a master’s degree in theological studies from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, Laura helps readers wrestle out their whys through Scripture. She believes the answers found in wrestling provide a pathway to growth in Christ. Connect with her at www.lauradgarry.com.