What Is Good?

Trust in the LORD and do good… Psalm 37:3

The whole meaning of life is summed up in that short verse: Trust in the Lord and do good. In fact, those two commands are intertwined to such an extent that we cannot have one without the other. 

If we really trust in the Lord—with all that implies---then He controls us. Trust results in setting aside our selfish will and allowing the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit, His character, and His deeds in us (Gal. 5:22). When we trust in the Lord, we will do good things. However, when we try to do good without trusting in the Lord, our good deeds are like filthy rags to God (Is.64:6). What may look good on the outside is motivated by how it makes us feel and what others think of us. Sometimes our good deeds are attempts to appease God.

So what does it mean to do good? The Lord told King Saul that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22). So the kind of “good” God desires is our obedience to His commands. Often we try to substitute a good deed in place of simple obedience to His word. We imagine that God is pacified with our helping a neighbor or serving in the soup kitchen and won’t notice that we are living in sexual immorality, drunkenness, or deceit. But to truly trust in the Lord is to desire is to please Him in everything. Only when we obey Him from a heart of love can we offer good deeds that are acceptable to Him. Only when we trust in the Lord can we truly do good.

Have you tried to substitute your ideas of good for simple obedience to God’s word? Only God can define goodness, and it starts with obeying what He has already told us to do.

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