Basically Good

Michael Beck

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6)

Most people want to be good. They also think they’re doing a pretty good job at it. While they don’t claim to be perfect, they like to think of themselves as “basically” a good person. But Jesus thought otherwise. He said: “… There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mt. 19:17)

Whatever goodness man thinks he possesses is fleeting. “… For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” (Hosea 6:4) Under the right (or wrong) set of circumstances, our “goodness” folds, and is quickly replaced by an evil that shocks even us. But yet, even then, we are apt to say, “But that’s not who I really am.” Really?

The only way anyone becomes truly good is to first realize that in themselves they are bankrupt of true and lasting goodness. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing …” (Rom. 7:18) Where do we go from that pride-shattering, broken place? We go to the One who alone is Good. We go to Him as paupers who desperately need Him to help us act, speak, and think right. He can make us as He is. He can make us like His Son, who was not overcome by evil, but overcame evil with good. And when we shine with an extraordinary goodness in the face of every evil we encounter, we will want no praise. To God be the glory for sharing with us what is basic to His nature, not ours.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.