Q. What is good?
Q. Do you think of yourself as good?
Q. What % of good are you?
Q. What % of good confirms you are a Christian?
Q. What % do you place on your fellowman thinking that you are good?
Q. Why are you trying to be good?
Q. Is good a measurement of salvation?
Recently I was counselling a fellow Christian man who I believed was sincere for God. However, he shared with me 4 key things that seriously disturbed my spirit …
- I can’t see why I need God’s grace; I am so good.
- The pastor’s role is to support me and agree with what I say or what I believe is from God
- If someone listens to another’s opinion that is contrary to mine then they don’t understand and they can’t hear what my genuine heart is trying to say to them.
- I think I’m called to be one of the end-time prophets.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This man believed that he was fully committed to God, but in talking further and pushing the issue deeper he confessed that he was envious of another brother’s better deal, and that his own pastor showed human weaknesses which to him meant that he was spiritually better than his pastor.
I confronted him in no uncertain terms and left him without any doubt that he was full of himself and not the Spirit of God.
If you can’t see that this is arrogance in its supreme form then you are lost. What this man is saying is that he knows more than the pastor; he knows more than anyone else; he is never wrong and is always right; and he is so good of course God would select him as the number one prophet.
How did he come to these conclusions and do you the reader have similar points of view?
When he was a boy his mother protected his feelings from being hurt by telling him repetitively that he was always right and everyone else was always wrong. He loved the idea of that and believed his mother’s opinion as the gospel truth, and as an adult, instead of changing this lie to God’s truth, he chose to live in its protective shield so no one could hurt his feelings. This man had come under the influence a generational lying spirit. He seemed to live the lie to perfection but in his inner heart he harboured envy and blame. You can’t have envy as your heart’s foundation and say you are good; that’s a contradiction.
You say that you wouldn’t believe what this man believed, but the truth is everyone believes they are good, at least mostly good, with very minimal bad; and that’s the lie you’ve swallowed.
From the day you’re born, life is ME, ME, ME until you die to yourself. So when a sibling or someone else gets a better deal, the fog of envy rolls in. When sin is pointed out, it can’t be computed because it makes me feel bad because I’m good. The bad is not ignored but because I’m good the bad is transferred by my judgment onto the person who’s made me feel bad.
The world and the church promote the theory of goodness
Goodness to the church and the world is helping people, being kind and thoughtful and not hurting people; but goodness to God is faith in His goodness, and from His faith alone, good is generated through us. The Bible says that no human is good; only God is good Matthew 19:17. So if you think you are good then you think you are God and this is the ultimate trap of idolatry worship.
The good of man is all based on how I feel; it’s not based on faith. It’s based on ME being the centre of the universe. Thus if I feel hurt then you are not loving and therefore you are the problem, and if you make me feel good then you are good. If I’m good then I believe I must be right and if I’m right then you must be wrong when I feel hurt by you. My whole judgment system is not based on God’s faith; it’s solely based on how I feel.
The Bible says the heart of man is evil, not good Romans 3:10,23; 7:18; Matthew 7:11; Isaiah 40:6; Jeremiah 17:9,10. Parents and friends teach us that it’s right and proper to be good, so in order to be valued by your fellowman we load as much goodness as we can onto ourselves and camouflage our true inner heart’s evil. So when someone from God comes along and says that what we’re doing is evil we can’t believe them because we really have been conditioned to believe that we are good. Thus our goodness directly blocks our salvation. In fact, the more gooder you think you are the more blinded you will be to your evil heart.
Jesus offended the Pharisees when He called them “white-washed sepulchres”. Firstly, people think if you offend my feelings then you’re bad; but that’s not the truth because Jesus offended people and He wasn’t bad. Secondly, a white-washed sepulchre is a Christian who fakes outer goodness but when they’re contradicted they expose their real inner heart is dead towards God.
Man’s goodness is not grounds for salvation, only God’s goodness is
A genuine Christian doesn’t focus on his goodness, he never defends himself by his goodness and he never challenges his position with God based on his goodness. He knows he’s a sinner no matter how good he is and he knows he’s only saved by God’s grace alone, Ephesians 2:8,9. He doesn’t tell God that He should save him or promote him because he is good.
Good is only of God, so you can’t do good unless your sin is covered by His blood through repentance of your heart of envy.
There’s no point in salvation if you’re good; you don’t need God. If you want to be saved you’re going to have to cast off your goodness and trust God’s goodness alone. The only ones who will be saved are the ones who know they are not good.
You can’t get to heaven on 99% good, you have to be 100% good, and you can’t be that good. You need God’s good to make it to heaven.
The word ‘good’ comes from the Old English word ‘god’. If you practice being good you’re just confirming you are your own god.
If you think of yourself as good then you worship yourself.
By their fruits you shall know them
We live in the fear of what people think of us, thus the motive to look good and do good is really for others. The fuel of arrogance is the fear of what people think of you.
The prodigal’s older brother was good; the prodigal was bad. Everyone measured their hearts by their human fruit, but their real hearts were only exposed when their circumstances were intersected by the change of heart of the prodigal. He now knew he was bad, the older brother still knew he was good, but it was the older brother who had the bad heart. God measures the fruit of the heart, not the fruit of your good.
The true reality is that we simply use good to hide our bad, because we’re too proud to have our selfishly envious spirit exposed.
The Pharisees promoted themselves based on their own goodness. They couldn’t be told they were bad because they were too good in their own eyes.
The rich young ruler (Matthew 19) asked the Master, what good thing should I do to inherit eternal life? He was promoting the theory of goodness that all fake Christians live by. From his perspective he had done everything right, so why was he really asking the question? He was really promoting his goodness to Jesus expecting accolades, and when he didn’t get it he simply had a mood. He came personally, face-to-face with Christ, but his self-promotion was more important than bowing the knee to the Creator’s will. This is in the Bible because it’s the true hidden heart of every person, and every person who will truly know Christ has to come to this realisation of their own sinful heart’s envy and pride, and repent.
Man’s goodness tries to be so good so that you can’t find a fault in him and so you’ll like him more than the others. That’s bondage and an impossibility to attain. In fact, it’s arrogant self-worship portrayed as love, when in truth it’s all about ‘position’ and called ‘good’.
Satan has a two-pronged attack
Satan can manipulate someone to tell you ‘you are good’ to hide you from your evil, or he can get someone to tell you ‘you are stupid’ to get you to retaliate against the hurt and prove them wrong by you striving to be super good. Satan uses evil to try and destroy the good in you and Satan uses good to retain the evil in you. Either way you’re trapped into your own arrogance with the carrot of proving you are good.
Satan sucked up to Eve with the carrot of you could be ‘great’. Satan can use anyone, especially family and friends, to manipulate the envy of your inner heart and easily trick you into the web of his power.
Thus, this good has nothing to do with God; rather it’s got everything to do with selfishness, elevation and pride. Thus such a Christian is trapped into the lie that they are good and the false presumption that obviously God would accept them and love them because they are so good.
GOOD is not the measurement; TELL is the measurement
Everyone can camouflage themselves with goodness, but the real exposure of a person’s inner heart is at the point of contradiction. It’s at this intersection that fake goodness will TELL you that you’re the one that’s wrong.
Examples of a TELL spirit ….
If I say sorry, then you have to accept my apology (but Jesus didn’t accept Esau’s apology)
If I try to explain something, then have to listen or you’re rude (but Jesus didn’t listen to the rich young ruler’s explanations)
If I do my best, then you shouldn’t correct me (but Jesus told Peter off for not walking on the water)
If I do my best, then you should come and accolade me
If you don’t see it from my point of view, then you’re an idiot, and you don’t understand
If I do something wrong, you shouldn’t make me feel bad
All these above statements are not interested in what’s best for my neighbour, but rather telling my neighbour how they’re supposed to behave towards me. Therefore, the spirit that says this from their heart is an anti-Christ spirit because it’s a fracture of the 2nd greatest commandment, and all their outside pretence of goodness won’t compensate for their heart’s envy. Satan pretends he’s an angel of light, so if you do too, you’re under the influence of demons, not Holy Spirit.
You may act obedient, but it’s not what you do when you are told, it’s what you say in your heart when you’re told to do something you don’t like.
The deception is held together by the desperate need to be valued by your fellowman
This Christian is so bound to being good they have to strive to load as much good onto themselves so everyone will know they are good. It’s all for show for human and self-approval, and sadly it blinds them to their evil heart which God actually is focussed on for their salvation. Their good has diverted them from exposure of their evil heart and led them along the path of destruction whilst all the time thinking they are saved. In fact, the real purpose of the good is to hide the evil under as much good as possible so no one can ever say you’re bad. It’s just so much easier to cover the evil with good and maintain the lie and the deception. It’s too demoralising to expose it to your fellowman. The irony is, God already knows, He’s just waiting for you to know.
When you’re trapped in evil, what your fellow-man thinks is more important than what God thinks, but the deception is that the Christian thinks he’s doing good for God and the person’s stubbornness won’t allow themselves to believe that it doesn’t value God’s opinion more.
This person won’t be able to hear the truth until they get cornered between a rock and a hard place
Jacob had an evil deceptive spirit. His mother favoured him above Esau and manipulated him to steal the blessing. God used the evil to separate him from his family, lead him to Laban who used and manipulated him the way he had abused his brother. He finally escaped Laban but when Laban chased after him he had nowhere safe to go. He was trapped between two enemies, Laban and his brother Esau. This was where he finally gave up and turned to the Lord and God resolved his dire situation.
Jacob wasn’t saved because of his goodness, he was saved because of God’s.
In my experience you can try and get a deceived Christian to see the truth but he won’t listen till he’s between a rock and a hard place. If God’s got his hand on the spirit of a man He generally can only get his attention when he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. A deceived man will only listen to himself until he’s cornered and then, hopefully he might listen to God’s point of view about him.
Good is just a tactic of Satan. Satan comes as an angel of light, but his true intentions are to kill and destroy because his true heart is hatred against God the Father for favouring Jesus above himself. Built into every man is this desire to be approved by their father, and Satan is the same, and he’s contaminated this God-given father-child relationship. Any time you envy your brother or wish you had the deal he has, you prove your goodness is a lie and you prove your actions are Satanic no matter how much good you cover it with.
An evil person who camouflages his sin with his goodness is expressing a desperate need to be valued by a father-figure to confirm they are ok, good and right. Because he doesn’t feel he has the father’s attention he tries to be more and more good to attract the father’s favour from an enemy sibling to himself. If you really look into this you can see that the need is really a selfish introverted narcissistic mood which is festered by the envy of a sibling getting the father’s greater affections. Thus like the older brother of the prodigal the true colours are eventually exposed.
The true heart of the person is exposed when they are threatened by someone else getting the attention of the father-figure instead of them. The truth is, good is just a technique to get human favour.
If you really want to find God you’re going to have to hate using your family and friends to elevate your self-value Luke 14:26,27,33 ; you’re going to have to hate the manipulation of your family and friends to try and elevate your self-value. You’re going to have to sacrifice the fear of what people think of you or you’ll forever be manipulated by others for yourself. The power of the generational spirit is too great to achieve this in your own power. More often than not, if you really have a God call on your life, God Himself will separate you from your family so you can breathe and listen to Him; the power of parental persuasion is deafening.
Q. How many key men in the Bible separated from their mother and father?
A. Abraham, Joseph, David went to the palace, Samuel, Daniel, Moses and Jesus (He didn’t necessarily leave home but He put His mother in her place at age 12 in the temple) to name a few
A. The power of the generational spirit will keep you under the rightness of family control and freeze you from finding your spiritual calling.
Luke 14:26 … If you want to truly follow Me then you cannot be in any way whatsoever attached to your parents, your children, your siblings, your friends and even yourself.
Mothers like to elevate and promote their kids for their own selfish self-value eg James and John, and if the father isn’t in the position of righteous headship to protect his children, the children will be bloated with self-pride and threaten their chance at salvation and threaten their purpose for God.
But the church teaches you are to love your family and respect your parents!
That’s the point. Love to the church is being good and kind and thoughtful. That’s ½ the truth. The other ½ of the truth is … love is angry (God will shake the earth), love is discipline and correction (Peter, you are the voice of Satan), love is short and to the point (Jesus took a whip), love tells the parent not to interfere with God’s plan (Jesus in the temple at 12 years of age), love is rude (comparing the Canaanite woman to a dog), love doesn’t do what’s expected (Jesus didn’t go to Lazarus’ funeral); love hides the truth with parables; love gives you hassles.
Without the harmony of the 2 truths you are not in the truth, you’re using the truth for your self-righteousness, just like Satan did when he tempted Eve and Jesus.
David loved Saul but he didn’t hang around and be abused by his father-in-law in the palace; he fled. Elijah came to show God’s love but it came in the form of angry judgment and destruction. A false prophet covers sin but a true prophet exposes it.
True love holds no grievance and it’s free to choose which truth it will stand on. It’s not bound by the manipulation of the opinion of the majority; it’s not bound by the selfishness of what you think of me. Thus true love can respect a parent without the obligation of having to obey a parent, but you won’t find true love by trying to be good.
Fake love does good to get good back, so if I’m hurting and you don’t help me resolve my problem then I judge you as unloving. It always judges a person for not doing it right according to my own rightness. Selfish love seeks comfort for the hurt feelings from someone who will understand and always judges someone as unloving if they don’t listen to my feelings and understand my pain.
Selfish love can’t understand why God wouldn’t love me; I’m so good.
Tests to question your goodness
You can test whether your goodness is God or yourself by your attitude to ‘correction’ or ‘hurt’.
The moment you blame the corrector/fellowman for hurting your feelings; the moment you judge the corrector/fellowman for his weaknesses; the moment you tell the corrector/fellowman what’s right and wrong; the moment you let the feeling of rejection dictate your feelings and you have a mood; and the moment you hide your opinion from the corrector/fellowman for fear of his contradictory opinion is the moment you show your true inner colours.
If you’re into goodness, you’ll set yourself up as the judge of other’s goodness and bring condemnation on yourself by your goodness. All that human goodness does is set you up to be the judge of goodness. You don’t judge someone unless you think you are good and they’re not good.
Arrogance runs on the fuel of the fear of what people think of you
Only arrogance tries to be good to show-off its worth. Arrogance does good to hide its evil. The fear of exposure dictates the motives of the evil heart.
You can’t repent because of fear or embarrassment, you have to repent of your arrogance. Fear of what people think is just an expression of your arrogance. God uses fear to expose your arrogance if you will stop and look. Peter saw his arrogance after he failed from his fear, and the prodigal saw his arrogance and thus was able to come to repentance.
Contrary to the world’s strategy, the answer isn’t to stop fearing; it’s to repent of your arrogance.
SIN = disobeying the Spirit of the law, not the law
Sin isn’t a bunch of bad things you’ve done; the bad things as measured by the law are an expression of your sin and evidence that you are not able to be 100% good. So doing good won’t solve the problem. Sin is spiritual opposition to God’s Spirit and only repentance will solve it and dissolve it.
If you think yourself good, you won’t understand why you’re being corrected and you’ll belittle the corrector in your heart; thus proving your goodness is a lie manufactured by you.
If you think of yourself as good you’ll have to believe the corrector is wrong because you are so good.
A true Christian
A true Christian will never come to Christ and present his own goodness; he presents God’s goodness. A genuine Christian tries not to be bad but doesn’t strive to be good. A true Christian doesn’t envy his brothers’ good fortune, nor judge his brothers’ weaknesses. Try as hard as you can to be good, but you’ll never be able to usurp these inherent human traits except by giving up to His goodness.
Man’s goodness is just a point accumulating strategy for one’s own self-righteous feelings of self-value.
A true Christian doesn’t think about goodness; he thinks about death to his badness.
A true Christian will suffer the pressure of the intimidation of the one who thinks he is good because the spirit in the fake gooder will try with all its might to not be exposed by the light of truth.
The Judgment Seat
At the Judgment seat if you argue with God about your goodness then your bad has to be exposed to prove that you are not good, but if you’re saved by His grace alone your bad doesn’t have to be exposed because you’re presenting His perfect goodness.
What spirit is this that blinds the people to such clever tactics of sin and makes them believe that sin only relates to everyone else? How arrogant! … so arrogant that they will never get saved until they see that they’re the sinner and not good at all.
If you can’t be told you’re bad, you can never be good.
May God open the eyes of His remnant.
Pastor Cliff Gregory