Proving that God is good

God_is_GoodThe main goal of our transformation in Christ is proving, first to ourselves, then to the world around us, that God’s intent for everyone is very good. In fact, it’s perfect and exactly what everyone is looking for, though they may not know it or believe it.

We need our minds renewed because we come from a culture that’s the opposite of this Kingdom culture.

For instance, do you know why the news focuses on the bad and negative? It’s because it’s what gets people’s attention. Historically, when they’ve tried focusing on good things, the audience ratings drop. The crazy truth is, people like hearing bad news! Disasters, even when they don’t involve us, fascinate us.

Conflict, criticism, gossip, divisiveness, judgmentalism and a religious and political spirit are prevalent in our culture because, after all, our culture is made up of…us.

Whether we realize it or not, we tend to think being bad and edgy is cool and being critical is being discerning.

This is why we need our jaded minds renewed first, so that we can affect the culture around us with the pure goodness of God. Here’s the way the Message Bible paraphrases Romans 12:2 in this regard:

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture
that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what he wants from you,
and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you,
always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you,
develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Rom.12:2 MSG)

What’s the normal conversation around the proverbial water cooler at your work? At your social gathering places?  Is it always uplifting, affirming, encouraging? Are people pulling you up or dragging you down, calling you out or calling you up? For most, it’s not generally a positive experience.

Our natural state as a culture is to be reserved, cynical, doubtful, skeptical, competitive, and fearful.

This is why, as Dr. Glenn Pickering puts it, we don’t know how to do intimacy in our relationships, so we play TAG.

When you play tag, there are no teams.You’re on your own.

The object is not to be “it.” You will do almost anything not to be it.

Because when the social hive has determined you’re “it,” then everyone can be as mean to you as they want. After all, you’re “it.”

Tag is the relationally immature game we play all the time. Perhaps we’ve learned how to play from our family upbringing. We don’t really like it but we fear intimacy and being vulnerability too much much to stop playing the game.

We have to be changed from the inside-out in order to relate to people otherwise. Being authentic, open and honest is so…scary. We certainly don’t want to risk being “it.”

This is the way we tend to look at the goodness of God. But here’s the thing. If this Good News sounds too good to be true to you, you’re probably just starting to scratch the surface of how infinitely good He really is.

We have no mental grid for something so good, so pure and so right, so we have to mitigate this “good news” with conditions, even bad news, in order to make ourselves feel better. In our disappointed minds we think nothing can be that good. There has to be a catch.

The only catch is our struggle with the fact that there is no catch.

We would never openly admit disapproval of pure goodness because we’ve really never openly admitted anything so deeply honest to God…or ourselves.

This is why, even as devoted Christians, we don’t really believe that we’re filled with the fullness that fills God and that there’s infinite joy and wild pleasures in His presence (Eph.3:19; Psalm 16:11; John 15:11). That doesn’t sound right to our wounded soul.

I can’t imagine a Goodness living inside of me that’s so infinitely greater than the passing goodness that made Moses’ face shine so bright that people could not even look at him (2 Cor.3:7-8).

It certainly doesn’t resonate with my current experience, so the best I can muster is a hollow amen and blend back into the culture around me.

This is why you and I must give up this lost cause and allow God to love us, to embrace us until all the vitriolic poison runs out of us, so that we can finally prove that God is not like our experience, or like those we trusted who hurt us, or like the world that scares us.

He is only good. And you and I have got to learn what that means.

I do know this. Our transformed heart and His overflowing love working through us is what everyone longs for but doesn’t dare to believe. I know that His intention for us, for them, for all mankind, is the most perfectly good and acceptable thing we could ever imagine. Actually, it’s beyond anything we can possibly ever dream of or hope for.

“Now glory be to God,
who by his mighty power at work within us
is able to do far more
than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—
infinitely beyond our highest prayers,
desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Eph.3:20 TLB)

Beloved of God, this is why we must be transformed. God has already demonstrated His intention toward us…and them. This world He so dearly loves that He paid what was most precious to Him needs to know this goodness. Let Him get His full reward. It must start with us.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

It’s all good.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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14 Responses to Proving that God is good

  1. Wally Fry says:

    Very nice Mel. A good reminder that we do in fact need to be different than we were. Thanks for this post.

  2. nancyteague says:

    Love this point, Mel – “We have no mental grid for something so good, so pure and so right…”. Can He be that good?! Only by revelation will we get that – the mind of man cannot comprehend such eternal pure Goodness. But He is committed and more than able to make sure we all do!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen. That’s part of His goodness. He can’t help but share it! I think that’s what the Holy Spirit is doing. He’s determined to get us out of our head and into His!

  3. The logic of struggling with something we cannot comprehend seems illogical, so we shut down instead of trust. That is when we must believe that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Is 55:8-9)

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, Susan. We shut down because we struggle with the idea of mystery. But there are so many things in this life that happen that we have just be content and say we don’t know. We don’t have to understand, but we can always know that God is good.

      But the beauty of the New Covenant is that God doesn’t want to just leave us in our darkness. So, rather than put God in our explainable box, we need to let His Spirit bring us outside the limitations of our understanding into His wide-open spacious life! He does want us know His ways for He has given us the mind of Christ (1 Cor.2:16), but this “knowing” only comes by revelation by the Spirit, not by trying to figure everything out in our heads. So, unless He reveals it to us by His Spirit, we should be content with mystery, knowing that He is good. 🙂

    • Amen, Mel. Content with mystery. Amen.

  4. Cindy Powell says:

    “This is why we need our jaded minds renewed first, so that we can affect the culture around us with the pure goodness of God.” Amen.So good. Because HE is so good. Oh that we would have such a profound and TRUE revelation of His heart and intentions that it would change everything about our culture and the world around us. I believe it IS coming–because it’s what HE wants. And we already know that, ultimately, He wins. I just hope and pray I get to see more and more of transformation in my lifetime. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      I totally agree, Cindy. I believe we’re starting to see it in the body of Christ. I really feel like Christianity, as we know it, will be so dramatically shifted in the next 50 years, from one based in fear and what we’re against, to one of love that demonstrates the Father’s heart. It may take a whole generation to get there, maybe you and I won’t see it completely in our lifetime, but it sure is fun being loved in His embrace in the meantime. We just need to keep heralding the message that He’s a good Papa and the good news is actually VERY good! 🙂

  5. Heidi Viars says:

    To comprehend the Holy and Divine is humanly impossible… the Holy Spirit in our renewed minds can help us set aside our flesh and walk in the Truth, and in that comprehend glimpses. I think of the persecution and ills inflicted on Christians all over the world and admit that I wonder how much we here worship comfort rather than pray that we would too would be able to willingly lay down our lives for Christ. “God teach us to live and die for you in utter surrender to You!” Thanks for the post, Mel!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Very good point, Heidi. I talk about that in the book I’m writing. We all must be transformed from worshiping a God we’ve made according to our imagination, what we want Him to be for us, to who He really is. And when we allow Him to cause our construct to come crashing down, we find that His goodness transcends our circumstances or feelings. Persecution can’t overcome goodness in union with Christ. Thanks for your comments. Blessings.

  6. Pingback: Saying yes to the process | In My Father's House

  7. paulfg says:

    “Because when the social hive has determined you’re “it,” then everyone can be as mean to you as they want. After all, you’re “it.””

    Loving the reading, loving the sharing. And that phrase about “it” – just imagine being “it” for all the greatest reasons: always loving, never phased, great sense of humour, such kindness, so empowering, has something rare, I don’t see that in others …

    Imagine that being “it” – and the universal and inevitable question: how does he/she do that? What then do we have to prove? What then do we have to debate? We are all curious about that kind of goodness – as much as we are drawn to disaster and chaos on the news.

    🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Loving your comments, Paul. I also love how you’ve redeemed being “it” here.

      Being “it,” in the greatest of ways, is being the focus of God’s affections and living in that place of love. It’s Him telling us, you’re “it” to Me! I paid Jesus for you. It’s being so loved that we can’t help but be kind and empowered, funny and not phased by anything. After all, we’re His favorite one. And we treat everyone else like they’re God’s favorites, because they are.

      What would our societal hive look like then? Probably, heaven on earth. 🙂

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