Retooled (Part 6-Goodness) The Friend of Earth
By: Jay Cookingham

Goodness - Generating a Godly way of life through friendship with God

The original Saxon meaning of our English word “God” is “The Good.” He is what He is—good. So it’s real big for God to have things in a “good” way, Over and over in Genesis; God declares everything He created “good” (see Genesis 1:4, 10, 18; 1 Timothy 4:4). In chapter 2, He shows His concern for our relationships, for it was “not good” for Adam to be alone, and so He created a wife for him.

The goodness of God is expressed in many ways; one that registers huge with me is
through His friendship with me. It was huge to Abraham as well.

“Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.” James 2:23 23

Abraham enjoyed an extraordinary relationship with God—to be called God’s friend is extremely extraordinary. God the Father extends His hand of friendship to a man, a sure sign of what kind of deep relationship is possible in the Kingdom. He demonstrates that He is not a respecter of persons, that cliques or elite groups are not the desire of His heart. Father God would rather enter into a life changing meaningful, good relationship with all men. Jesus echoes the Father’s heart in John when He says; “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (15) “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. “John 15:14-15

In the above passage, Jesus tells us that there is an aspect of this friendship we share with God and it has to do with obedience to His ways. Of Abraham, God speaks with confidence; “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him,” ... Genesis 18:19

So, this is not a friendship we can afford to take for granted. Jesus never did, all the way to the cross and beyond; He was a good and faithful friend.

“ Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

We can’t remain “familiar” with this kind of friendship, we have to go deeper, higher, and farther, there is no ceiling with this relationship. There is a hungry expectation—a deep desire to grow in this relationship. His goodness expressed in His friendship with us uplifts our position, encouraging us not only to do better, but also be better. The Greek word for "goodness" agathosune means “uprightness of heart and life” That’s the Father’s goodness.

The goodness of the Father transcends the normal bounds of friendship, it imparts a worth, a connection of heavenly proportions. It’s not an ordinary earthy alliance but one straight from the Father’s heart. This one guarantees intimacy with the Father, it destroys the boundaries that our earthiness produces. It is out of that goodness that God operates—out of that goodness, that patience, kindness—all the fruit of the Spirit flows. It’s His character, God is good and everything He does is…good. As His son, I can have that same goodness flow out of me. So much so, that the way I love my wife, my kids and my community is marked heavily by that goodness.

Everyday I need be retooled by His goodness—shaped by it until I view my world so much more as He does—a world that needs to know His goodness first hand. When I deepen the friendships I have, I am always amazed at the new level of “knowing” it produces. I gain understanding, insight and sometimes “wonder”, that special, cool glimpse of the handiwork of God in the life of another. It is a level of goodness that transcends anything we can manufacture outside the working of the Holy Spirit. In this state of goodness we can be friends with our kids, not as the expense of our authority but because of it. We are in the lead, and we follow the lead of our Father who extended His own hand of friendship towards us.

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the shadow of turning.” James 1:8