It’s no secret that it takes great effort to consistently do good in a world where it is easy to be bad. The social pressures that bombard us through fads and fellowship, constantly invite us to concentrate on egocentric sense gratification with the less-than-divine command: “Do what thou wilt.”
This world’s ethos (ethical values) also encourages the believer to lose hope and stop living a life filled with good deeds. Believers are oftentimes discouraged due to the societal philosophy of personal independence at the price of ungratefulness, betrayals and hatred of Christianity- the religion of divine love.
In this world it takes effort to do and be good.
But even so, Lord Jesus through the Apostle Paul encourages us to not grow weary, for in due season we shall reap the fruit of our labors! The word that the Holy Spirit uses for “due season” is the Koine word: “kairos” (καιρός) which is used in the Bible in reference to God’s perfect timing. A fruit that is picked out of season will not yield the same results as a fruit that is allowed to fully mature. In the same way, there is a proper time for us to reap the results of our good works.
When it comes to doing good, there is always the possibility that we will be able to perceive a certain degree of results. Yet for the most part, our good deeds have many ramifications that are beneficial to many people outside of our immediate scope of perception.
This is why Lord Jesus encourages us to store up treasures in heaven! (Matthew 6:20) “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
We have reasons to do good that infinitely transcend our desire to reap the immediate fruits of our good labors. The following reasons are the foundation of our good works:
I. We are a new creation-
2 Corinthians 5:17 literally calls every believer “a new creation.” When human beings were created, they were fashioned into the “image and likeness” of God. (Genesis 1:26) This means, that humans were originally created according to the pattern of the true, eternal image of God, Jesus Christ. (Col 1:15) Not only were we created according to the external pattern of Christ, but we were also created to be “like” Christ, in all our virtues and doings.
Now that we are a “new creation,” the good that we perform for others becomes an act of worship to God. The main reason why the Judeo-Christian philosophy is against the worship of inanimate “images” (or idols) is because such worship, takes our fruitive efforts of goodness and turn them into works of vanity. (Isaiah 44)
On the other hand, when we love the Lord our God (Deuteronomy 6:4) with all our heart, soul and strength, we cannot but love him through his eternally-authorized image: our fellow neighbor. (Matthew 22:34-40; 1John 4: 19-21)
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17
II. Doing good to those who are the rejected of society is an act of worship to Christ.
It’s easy to get caught up in feelings of resentment towards those who would squander our sacrificial efforts in order to satiate their sense gratification through the use of intoxicants. But even so, there are some among the homeless and the poor who desire to prosper and are desperately waiting for a chance. But regardless of each individual’s goal, all the poor and the homeless share in one common attribute: rejection from society. Isaiah 53:3 says:
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
If human beings encapsulate the image and likeness of God, how much more those who are the rejected of society? This is why Lord Jesus personally associates with the poor, the imprisoned, the sick, the elderly, the widows, the orphans and all the misfortunate who’s divine rights have been taken away. All devotees who associate with these, are associating with Christ Jesus.
Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
III. By doing good works, others experience the essence of the Gospel through us.
The early Christians did a play of words that reminded them of this fact. Psalm 34:8 says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
In the Greek version of the Bible (LXX), the word translated “good” (χρηστός-chrestos) looks and sounds similar as the Greek word for “Christ.” (χριστός-christos)
The good works that we perform in the Name of Christ, gives people a “good taste” of God’s love and goodness for humankind. A love and goodness that transcended his eternal love for his only-begotten Son, whom he gave up as a ransom and expiatory sacrifice for our sin. (Romans 5:6-8)
We have plenty of reasons to do good works that are rooted upon the love of God. The Apostle challenges us in Hebrews 10:24 with the following words:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
With so much egocentric competitiveness in this world, wouldn’t it be nice if we actually competed in being good and performing good works?