What Is Good, Anymore?

“Would you like some more coffee?” ‘No, I’m good” “How are you doing today?” “I’m good, how about you?” “Are we good?” “Yes, it looks good” “God is so good, so good to me!”

You can probably think of the multiple ways you have heard the word good used. It seems to be a generic, catch- all word to describe everything from the ripeness of fruit, to relationships, to our state of mind, to the accuracy in a construction project. The number of times the word is used makes me wonder if everything can be called good. If everything is so good, why is there still bad in the world?

In Christian circles the phrase “God is good” is used many times. I’ve even heard it used in a mocking way, towards believers by unbelievers. Perhaps they too have heard it so many times uttered by Christians that they have witnessed the insincerity of the phrase.

To be sure the word good is used many times in the Bible, beginning in Genesis when God called each of His created things, good. And what God calls good is good. It is His standard, not ours.

Yet, if we are honest, we prefer our standard definition of good, rather than God’s standard. We tend to measure goodness, in terms of contentment, satisfaction and blessing. If it is good for us, than it must be declared good. When God blesses us in our finances, work, families, or generally answers our prayers in the way we want, well, then we declare “God is good!”

If we are honest, we mistake our feelings, for a true declaration of God’s goodness. God’s goodness does not depend upon us calling Him good, based upon our understanding of circumstances, but rather, on who He is. He is good because it is His character. He is still good, whether our circumstances align with the goodness or blessings in our lives. God is still good when a tornado strikes. God is still good when someone is taken from this life too soon. God is still good when we lose everything.

If you visit any book store and search for inspirational stories, i.e. the “religion” section, you will find plenty of Christian books on living the good life. All promise a better life than what you currently live, if only you will buy the book, follow the easy five step plan and in an instant your life will be good. If you follow this direction, I’m sad to say, you will be disappointed. Life is not always good. Life is not always blessed in the ways we want and desire. God is not so much interested in a financial blessing as a spiritual growth blessing in our lives. Growth can mean pain and difficulty. My son suggested a better book title to more accurately describe life as “Life sucks, but it still goes on anyway” I wonder if a book with that title would sell, or if we are too conditioned for the “good life” of ease and blessings.

When children grow, they often experience growing pains. This is not a bad thing, but rather good and necessary. In our darkest, loneliest moments is when grow and increased dependence upon God occurs. We draw closer in our relationship with Him. We cling to Him and call our to Him. Yet, do we ever exclaim “God is good” in our pain?

Yet, so many false teachers are out there in the world, claiming that God wants to make us rich and happy. Reality is, the only ones getting rich and happy are them, selling their books and programs. They have taught us that goodness, and in particular, the goodness of God is to be measured by our own standards, based on our own contentment. We have become the ones who declare God is good, if He meets our standards. We call ourselves good if we do our good works and are recognized for them. We call ourselves good when we reach our personal goals. We call ourselves good when we are content.

And we lie to each other as well. How often have you answered someone who asked how you are with, “I’m good” when inside you are actually a mess. Why not be honest with each other. If you are not okay or “good” say so. Let’s share each other burdens and pray for each other, you know like the Bible instructs us to do.

Finally, we should be aware that our own definition of goodness is very skewed. look around the world and it does not take long to see a shift to the acceptance of bad practices becoming the accepted and normal. Life is not protected and cherished, relationships are temporary and used for pleasure rather than long term commitment. Life is about what we call good. Whatever feels right or convenient. We do not want pain, or worry or difficulty. We want our good. We want our brand of happy.

The prophet Isaiah mentions “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Is. 5:20-21, ESV). Apparently, this has been a problem for mankind for awhile.

I do not have a definition of woe but I’m pretty sure it’s a warning. Yet, mankind still tries to substitute evil for good. We attempt our own definition and usage of good. But, this becomes a problem when your definition of good does not match my definition. If I call something good that you find bad or evil, how can we find resolution? Do we simply isolate ourselves? What if there were an arbiter? To settle the dispute over definition?

Well, thankfully, there is; God is the arbiter to decide what is good. Let’s follow His definition and think twice before we proclaim “God is good!” only when everything is going our way. Let’s allow the Bible to define good and evil. Let us keep on our course and finish the race set before us, whether that means blessings or difficulties. God is still good, and not by our standards, but His. -God Bless You- Nancy

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A Christian writer and teacher who loves to encourage and challenge believers in their walk with Christ. I am a graduate of Liberty University and the proud wife of an Air Force veteran and the mom of three grown adults.

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