Why We Cannot Measure God’s Goodness With Problem-Free Living

So often we believe that the measure of God’s goodness is found in a life free of trials and problems. This kind of thinking is simply not biblical. If so, we would have to conclude that the writers of the Old and New Testaments and even Jesus himself fell short of God’s goodness.

Truth is, we cannot measure the goodness of God with problem-free living as if to say that the one who has less problems is experiencing more of God’s goodness. This kind of thinking is pervasive in the minds of so many Christians.

The Goal of God’s Goodness

We need to have a firm conviction that the chief goal of the goodness of God is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Making us more like Jesus is the goal of the Christian life and the foundation of God’s goodness.

Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

This means that you can be right in the middle of an overwhelming trial and at the same time truly know that God’s goodness is alive and active in your life. His goodness is leading you to look more like Jesus through the trial.

The goodness of God is discovered in the journey of our painful experiences. We must learn to live in the tension of this reality.

This is why we can thank God in all things (not for all things) because if handled rightly, the problem, trial, or tragedy will serve to make us more like the Lord, which is the goal of the Christian life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

No Second-Class Believer

I want you to know that you are not some kind of second-class believer because you are facing problems on every side. The goodness of God is never measured by the number of problems we face.

I really don’t know where we picked up this thinking. Just look at the life of David, Paul and so many others in scripture. Each faced insurmountable problems. Yet, David (for instance) continually praises God for His goodness (Ps. 31:19).

Problems don’t define us, they refine us (Malachi 3:3). Never forget this.

As long as we stay close to Jesus, walk in humble obedience to His Word, we will go through the valley (Ps. 23:4).

The Fall – Undermining Ones Confidence in the Goodness of God

In the biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve, it is significant that satan’s* attack was on this dimension of the character of God. It is true satan virtually called God a liar, but the first attack of satan was waged against the attribute of His goodness.

Let’s take a look at the Fall in Genesis 3:1-5:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The Fall resulted in satan’s seemingly innocent question intended to undermine Eve’s confidence in the goodness of God. By the time satan finishes, Eve views God as One who is less than good and the forbidden fruit as good.

Once Eve doubted the goodness of God, disobedience was not far behind. If God is not always acting for Eves highest good, why then should she continue to obey Him? In fact, why not act independently of God in seeking her own good and reach for the forbidden fruit?

When satan changed Eve’s perspective of God’s goodness it then became much easier to persuade her to disobey God.

Once we come into agreement that God does not act out of His goodness in every moment of our life then we will seek our own goodness.

We cannot afford to allow this to happen to us. Be unmoved regarding God’s goodness.

How Can We Stay Confident In God’s Goodness When We Face Trials?

1. Stay in agreement that God is good in every season and in every moment in your life. Faith is confidence in the goodness of God.

2. Realize that Jesus is with you. His Word promises you that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). So pray.

3. Declare His goodness and be thankful in (not for) the trail. Stay close to God and work hard to keep your heart un-offended.

4. Trust that the problem you are facing, if handled rightly, will make you more like Jesus.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Questions: How are you doing with this? Have you struggled with the tension of problems/trials and the goodness of God? Let’s talk about it.

*Please Note: the name satan is not capitalized. I choose not to acknowledge him, even to the point of violating grammatical rules.

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William Scofield
8 years ago

Good words, Hermano PG! 🙂

8 years ago

Thanks Bill. I really don’t know what “Hermano” actually means but I am receiving it as meaning something good! 🙂

Kathy Damario
8 years ago

I know of His goodness ONLY because I know what it took for Him to carry me through, hold me up and sustain me……through all the trials and storms!!! that He was THAT close…..

8 years ago
Reply to  Kathy Damario

Hi Kathy. I have always admired your tenacious devotion to the Lord in the midst of the trials and storms you’ve faced. What an example of supreme dependency and faithful devotion to Jesus. 🙂

Jeremy-Rae Howard
8 years ago

Dang! So good PG! I love, “thank Him in all things (not for all things).” Very needed perspective! I’ve been loving all your writings.

8 years ago

Hi Jeremy. Glad that truth “hit” you. Man, being thankful “in” all things has been so helpful to me lately.
Hope all is well with you guys down in Santa Barbara!

8 years ago

Such a GOOD Word! I’ve grown closer to the Lord as I’ve allowed Him to carry me through trials, leaning on His goodness. I’ve been declaring Psalm 27:13 over my life “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”

8 years ago
Reply to  Barbie

Hi Barbie, Sometimes trials repel people from the Lord, I’m glad your does not! This is the way we should all respond. And I love Psalm 27:13, awesome verse!

Sean Foster
8 years ago

I had to read this twice. Declare His goodness and be thankful in (not for) the trail. Stay close to God and work hard to keep your heart un-offended. and then went back over it again. This needs to be burned in my brain. Thank you.

8 years ago
Reply to  Sean Foster

Hi Sean. Great to hear from you! Sometimes I need to read something 2 or 3 times myself. 🙂 So glad that this post helped you.

Nicole Dickens
8 years ago

Thanks PG for redefining His goodness as using every opportunity to develop Christ-likeness in us and faith as always trusting in that goodness. It’s a struggle to walk this out when circumstances seem overwhelming but He seems to leave a trail for me to follow everytime 🙂

8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole Dickens

Hi Nicole. Great way of summing it up. There are those seasons where it is just flat-out hard but we reach for more of God in these seasons and find our roots going into deeper soil as a result. Here we find water we never knew existed and a depth in God we never knew was possible. I can testify to this!

8 years ago

Greg, I’ve recently been trying to get my head around “postmodernism.” Of course, it’s pretty safe to say that this is our predominate cultural mindset in the West now. Ravi Zacharias really helped me with something. Postmodern mentality is deconstructionist. We see it in Genesis 3 with Satan deconstructing what God said – “Did God really say?” In doing that, he deconstructs who God is. I’m thankful that Christ is THE RECONSTRUCTIONIST – “No man has seen God at any time, the only unique Son has explained him” (John 1.18). Didn’t Jesus say there is only one who is good,… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Hi Brian. So true! Interesting point that Ravi makes. I agree, that this is the prevalent thought in the West. What I am noticing is a return to the book of Judges, “everyone did what was right in their own ideas” (Judges 17:6). If we can make God be whomever we want then there really is no God but ourselves. Obviously, this has been going on for thousands of years and it flat-out hasn’t worked out to well for mankind. When we violate how the Creator designed us, we self-distruct. The ironic thing here is that we keep trying form… Read more »

kp
8 years ago

Love the post not saying to criticize, but it’s 1 Thessalonians 5:18 not 4:18

8 years ago
Reply to  kp

Hi kp. Good catch, thanks. All patched up now! Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

Humbleheart72
7 years ago

“When satan changed Eve’s perspective of God’s goodness it then became much easier to persuade her to disobey God.” So many people still do not realize the subtlety of the devil and that he is still using the very same tricks he used from the beginning. Some people seem to totally disregard the fact that the devil is even still in full swing operation and that is something I’d like to have a greater understanding of. I want to be fully aware of the devil’s tactics. What is he doing these days? What is he able to do? How much… Read more »

7 years ago
Reply to  Humbleheart72

Hi humbleheart72. Thanks for the comment. I shot you an email. Blessings 😉

Humbleheart72
7 years ago
Reply to  Greg Simas

Thank you 🙂 Of course, I shot you an email back. Lol. But I’m not looking to try and lock you into an ongoing conversation about my concerns. Maybe if you could just pray for me to have more discernment and for me to keep my focus on what God is doing rather that on what the enemy is doing, that would be helpful 🙂 God bless you <3

7 years ago
Reply to  Humbleheart72

You would be surprised at how many people have your very same questions. They are good questions. We need to be continually growing in the Lord and one way that happens is by searching out answers to things we don’t understand. 🙂

Frank Y Mchomvu
7 years ago

Hi be Blessed I have never read an amazing and Blessing message about Goodness of God like this.May My Living God give you more courage and vision to work for him and for his people.STAY BESSED

Anicia Phamotse
5 years ago

I love the Lord with all my heart but when challenges comes my way I loose faith. I am grateful for this article

GREG SIMAS
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