And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:10 (NKJV)
Within You Is Goodness – The Receive Series – Part 2
So many get caught up in living to attain “goodness.” If I only I was this size, or had this personality, or landed this job, or looked like that, or succeeded, or had more money, or had what they’ve got, or looked like him, or went to that school, or if this hadn’t have happened to me, or if only this would happen to me…
Living to attain goodness is a never-ending, relentless, pursuit to which there is no rest.
The thing is: you come from goodness. You are already good. It’s not something you have to achieve; it’s who you are.
There are so many definitions of “good.” So, let’s start a working definition right here that you can take and live into… make it your own.
The Hebrew word for good is “tôv”. It’s the word used in Genesis poem when God created stuff and said it was good.
Tôv. It’s not a word used to label something as we might use the word “good’ to label a new TV show, or the food we just ate, or the actions of a person. Tôv is anything that produces life and contains the potential for more life within it.
Good in Hebrew means that you have something to work with. It's:
Day and night.
Heaven and earth.
Land and sea.
Plants and seeds.
Sun and moon.
Fish and birds.
Animals, big and small.
The full spectrum of humanity .
“Good” (tôv) has movement and flow and life and breath and ups and downs. Perfect has nowhere to go… It’s static. Unmoving. Done.
Good has nothing to do with perfection.
The root of the Hebrew word “tôv” is tet-bet, which means to prepare something to receive. When God saw that what He created was prepared and suitable to fulfil the purpose for which it was created, He said about it “ki tôv,” that it was “good.”
If something isn’t able to fulfil some purpose of creation, it is “rah” whose root word means unstable, with no sense of future and continuity. It has no basis for existence and is doomed to extinction. In fact, there is no word for ‘evil’ in ancient Hebrew. The closest word for it is “rah.”
Good doesn’t mean perfect or proper or straight or in-line or on-point or fashionable or excellent. Good is anything that has the potential for life within it. In this sense of the word good, we can see that even hard, challenging, and tragic times can be filled with a sense of goodness. After all, God created night and day and said that it was ALL good, because of the two of them, life flourished.
I’m not saying that God orchestrates the bad, or “rah,” things in life. I actually don’t believe that at all. But I am saying his essence, his fundamental goodness, undergirds our lives and can create life from even the darkest of moments.
Isn’t that the message of the cross? That there is even life in death?
Back to our working definition:
Good is movement and dust and air and spirit and soul and soil and food and conversation and night and day and relationship and argument and progress. It’s all in. You don’t have to live up to “good.” You already are. Within you is goodness; the potential, and capability for life. To put it another way, you’re alive, therefore, you are good.
Mistakes? Tragedies? Failures? None of these things make you bad. They only present another vehicle for a different kind of good to be outworked in your life.
Take a few minutes to meditate on the goodness of God that is already yours, that is hardwired into you.
Let go of the pressure and idea of perfection. Perfection is a myth, a friend of “rah.”
“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck.
Written by Liz Milani
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