Section 1: FOCUSING ON GOODNESS
ACTIVATING THE GOODNESS IN YOUR LIFE
It Depends on You!
We’ve spent a good deal of time in the lessons in this library addressing the importance of our choices and how they ultimately define our lives. Although we have help—specifically, God’s Spirit working within us—it’s still up to us to make our choices and put them into practice. Ultimately, the goodness coming from our lives is dependent on these two things—the choices we make and how diligent we are in putting them into practice.
With slight efforts, how could one obtain great results?
It is foolish even to desire it.
When we look around our towns and communities, we note vast differences in the amount of goodness we see coming from the lives of others. Some people we know are great examples of living with goodness and always seem to be doing good and helpful things for people in the community. We also know individuals who seem to have little or no goodness in them…they seldom, if ever, reach out to help someone in any special way.
There are helpful folks and self-centered folks…and quite a variety in between the two. In other words, the content of our “goodness tanks” varies greatly and ranges from being almost full to just about empty.
Bottom line, our choices determine the amount of goodness in our lives. The more we choose to do good things for others—help a friend through a rough spot, support a teammate’s idea, introduce someone new to others at work or school, volunteer to tutor a child, etc.—the more our goodness tank contains. Yes, God’s Spirit (the Spirit of Goodness) is always with us, but it is dependent on us and our choices to actually “do some good” for others.
Although the amount of goodness coming from someone’s life may be small or nonexistent right now, there is always the potential for a significant increase. Even people who have made big mistakes, individuals who have wronged their family or friends in some way, even those who have lived their daily lives in very self-centered ways have the opportunity to increase the level of goodness in their lives. That’s because the Spirit of Goodness is always with us and ready to partner with us when we make choices to do good and positive things.
Why the Differences in Goodness between Individuals?
Goodness and Miracles
Most of us have never experienced a modern-day miracle, but goodness can result in life-changing events. Consider the thousands of special things done by people for others: the fireman who went into the burning house and saved the young child’s life, the researcher who developed a much-needed vaccine that cured others, the man who set up a social media fund to help a destitute family pay their rent, the person who volunteered to visit shut-ins each week . . . the list goes on and on. In our view, these are “miracles” performed by everyday people who made the choice to be directed by the Spirit of Goodness within them.
Stop and think about this for a minute: It’s through the goodness coming from our lives that you and I, in effect, become “miracle workers” in this world. We are here to do some very important things—to help others in some very meaningful ways—if we will only “wake up” about how life should be lived and recognize the importance of the choices we make. You are (potentially) a lot more important than you may have ever realized. There are a lot of “miracles” you can perform if you choose to spend more of your time and energy helping others.
How Do You Activate this Goodness in Your Life?
There are three basic ways you can increase the goodness coming from your life:
Through your choices…
The quality of your choices directly affects the level of goodness coming from your life. You have the controls, so to speak. Through your choices, you’re in charge of the role that goodness plays in your life as well as the amount of goodness you deliver to others while you are here. To improve or increase the goodness coming from your life, you have to improve the choices that you make.
Through your actions…
While our choices define how we want to help, it is through our actions that our goodness translates into actual benefits to others. You live out your goodness not just by thinking or talking about it, but by actually doing something to help someone. We can’t store up our goodness. We have to use it to help others today, or today’s opportunities for the delivery of goodness are lost forever.
Through your life’s purpose…
Each of us possesses a unique combination of interests, abilities, and feelings—our way of doing things, so to speak. If we pay attention to them, these unique qualities help us determine our purpose in life. Because our purpose will always have something to do with helping others in some way, we keep our goodness tanks close to full as we live and work to fulfill that purpose.
Will Your Goodness Be Challenged?
There will always be people who will motivate you to put your goodness aside and “have some fun” in life, but a meaningful life is not just about having fun. It’s also about achieving a level of satisfaction that comes from living in a good and proper way, satisfaction that comes from using your life and your goodness to help others.
You’ll most certainly encounter people whose suggestions, if followed, will diminish the amount of goodness coming from your life. But you can keep yourself from being a victim of such influences. You can remain an independent thinker, be the actual leader of your life, and make the choices that allow the Spirit of Goodness to become an increasingly important influence in your life.
The purpose of life is not to be happy but to MATTER,
to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference
that you have lived at all.
What does the gauge on your “goodness tank” indicate…full, half-full, empty?
What can (will) you do to raise the level?
Name a specific way you use your goodness to benefit others.
Do you feel a certain level of satisfaction when you do this?
How have others used their goodness to help you?