He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)
We live in a free for all, subjective world today. Truth is relative and depends on who you are talking to. It is also transient and changes with time according to the prevailing culture. What was being hailed as the best just a few years ago is no more acceptable today. What was unacceptable before has now become the norm and woe to anyone who doesn’t accept or tolerate it. You will be mobbed and stoned figuratively speaking.
Everyone is looking for what is good. The problem is there is so many different definitions of what is good. Amidst all the confusion is a genuine search by people who are seeking relief, seeking an explanation, a rationale, a stable and unshifting paradigm within which to frame the happenings of our times. Everyone is looking for that ideal, that standard by which to judge themselves and others. That compass which can guide the choices that we make.
Some look for it in religion, others look for it in politics, in psychology, in wealth, in philanthropy etc. All these have something of value within them but ultimately, the quest for ‘good’ still remains because the problems of the world are still compounding and the systems including those mentioned above, do not seem to solve the problems.
If I were to start listing the problems of the world, it will be an endless list so I am not going to try. If you even wanted to list your individual challenges, just yours alone, the list will probably be endless as well so our corporate search and our individual search for good still continues.
Once in a while a new idea, a new phenomenon, a new craze, touches the world and swings the unstable ones in its direction until they find that it actually gives no real lasting satisfaction.
So good continues to be subjective. Who is qualified to define it? Whose definition will you accept?
God does not show you what is good unless you are willing to listen and to accept it. It may be staring you in the face but you cannot see it. God will only reveal it to you if you are willing to accept him and to trust him. This is so that you can be responsible in using what he has shown you. You can only be responsible with it if it is an answer to a genuine search. And when you have found it, He as evidence of your knowledge requires a demonstration that you have truly grasped it.
Thank God that this knowledge of God is available to all and in finding God you will also find what is good because goodness itself is defined by God.
God is good.
‘Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way’. (Psalm 25:8 KJV)
‘He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death’. (Job 28:3 KJV)
‘The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works’. (Psalm 145:9 KJV)
The only lasting standard definition of good which matters is God’s definition. Why? Because, if you accept that you did not make yourself then whoever made you (God) must have a purpose and a plan for you. He is the only one who can give your life the value he made it to have and the satisfaction of a life well lived. He is your maker and knows that you are fit for the purpose for which you were made and if you are walking in that purpose you will find lasting inner satisfaction indeed. The quest will be over. You will know and be able to evidence what is good.
‘Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God’. (3 John 1:11 KJV)
‘He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord’. (Psalm 33:5 KJV)
‘For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations’. (Psalm 100:5 KJV)
In the absence of a connection and a dependence and an acceptance that God is your maker and that it is his standard that matters, you will continue to be tossed about from one new idea, one new cultural change, one new fashionable thing to do until all the life in you is drained by life itself and you have no more strength to seek. Most people at this stage in their lives, despite their ‘success’ in life, be it their careers, their wealth, their family lives and relationships, find that life no longer holds any pleasure for them. They’ve tried it all and didn’t find true satisfaction.
So next time you hear someone say that you don’t need God, you don’t need religion, you don’t need faith, and that all you need is you, be sure to tell them, that this way of life they are describing will leave you unsatisfied in the end.
Don’t live your life with no objective standard of morality. Don’t believe the following; ‘ What feels good to you must be good for you and unless you can find something that feels even better, don’t give it up. As long as you are not hurting anyone, it is fine’.
This notion is promoted by the recent increase in active secularism that seems to have gripped the entire societies of ‘ civilised’ nations. Tolerance is a key word. As long as he / she is doing what they are doing privately and it does not impact on others it has to be allowed. As long as it makes them happy it is fine. Separation of church and state is being sought after as never before.
But faith and goodness are like values. You donot leave them at home when you get out of the door. They are meant to be entrenched and should impact positively on all aspects of your life. It should be evident in your way of life. The state is inhabited and run by people and if they are people of faith, it is impossible for them not to demonstrate this faith in some way or form. Stating that they cannot do so is akin to alienating them in the society.
Your faith in God is not detachable from you as a person. It is the lens through which you view the world and life. If there is no light, no truth, no objective standard in your life, it will be full of darkness.
‘This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’. (1 John 1:5 KJV)
No darkness at all. That sounds like the best among the lot. The one we should be following. This is the way to finding what is good.
This God requires three simple things from all human beings. If you accept his standards, then he expects these three things from you. They are as simple as ABC.
Walk humbly with him your God
All the days of your life. If you will do these three, you will find lasting satisfaction and fulfilment, contentment in life and that is what is good. Anything less and you oh man have been cheated out of what is good.