Nothing will make your faith grow faster than learning about the goodness of God. The more revelation you have about it, the more you can flourish in every area of life. That’s why back in 1998, the Lord specifically told me to preach about His goodness, and not to fear the reproach of men.
He had to add the part about fearing not the reproach of men, because the truth about God’s goodness can be controversial. People have been arguing about it for years. Back in the 1950s, for instance, when Brother Oral Roberts started preaching about it, even some in the full-gospel crowd got upset with him.
Especially those in ministry!
Preachers had spent years developing sermons about Job, and teaching that God puts sickness and poverty on people as a “blessing in disguise.” And Brother Roberts was messing up their sermons.
I remember Kenneth Hagin Sr. telling about some ministers who came to him and complained about the situation. “It makes me mad when Oral Roberts says, ‘God is a good God!’” they said.
“What do you want him to do?” Brother Hagin answered. “Say that God is a bad God?”
“Well, no,” they’d reply, “but he’s giving people the wrong impression!”
The wrong impression?
Brother Roberts was just telling people that God wanted them to be healed and blessed. He was just preaching the truth to them, and he was getting it straight from the Bible. It says in Psalm 145:
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them (verses 8-9, 14-16, 18-19).
Talk about a good God! According to those verses, it wasn’t Oral Roberts who was giving people the wrong impression about Him, it was the critics! Instead of preaching the Word they were just repeating religious traditions.
They had no idea those traditions were started by the devil, but they were. He does everything he can to stop the Word of God’s goodness from getting out to people. He has spent thousands of years telling lies about the Lord and trying to ruin His reputation.
That’s what he did in the Garden of Eden. He questioned God’s Word and suggested to Eve that God had lied to her and Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told her, in essence, “God isn’t really good. He doesn’t have your best interest at heart.”
The Sky’s the Limit
Although it’s a very sad story, for us as New Testament believers there’s good news at the end of it: What the devil accomplished in the Garden has now been undone! As Ephesians 2:4-7 says: “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
This means we can do exactly the opposite of what Adam and Eve did. We can put our faith in God’s goodness, obey His Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and start seeing the Garden of Eden restored in our lives. We can live in the place God designed us to live—a wonderful place, an exciting place, a place where we wake up every day thinking like Adam and Eve did: What marvelous thing does God have for me today?
“Gloria, that sounds too good to be true!”
I know. But it’s the way God is. His goodness toward us surpasses our wildest imaginations. That’s why the Bible says in Psalm 31:19, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”
First Corinthians 2:9-10, The Amplified Bible, says, “What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him. Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit….”
On our own, we can’t even dream up all the goodness God has stored up for us. If we didn’t have the Word and the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us, we wouldn’t be able to wrap our minds around it. One Hebrew Bible scholar said in his commentary on Psalm 31 that God is so good, “there is no limit to His giving, save His creatures’ capacity of receiving.”
In other words, the sky’s the limit. We can each have as much of God’s goodness manifesting in our lives as we can receive.
What determines how much we can receive?
The things we believe! As Jesus said, “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).
How do we increase our believing?
According to Romans 10:17, faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So we increase our faith by digging into God’s Word and finding out what it says. The more we fill our hearts with the Word, the more we can be like the “good soil” people in the parable of the sower in Mark 4: They heard the Word, accepted and welcomed it, and bore fruit—some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundredfold.
This is the reason spending time in God’s Word is so vital. It opens the door to all the good things God has for us. In Mark 4:24, Jesus put it this way: “The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear” (AMP).
No One Else Can Do It for You
“Well,” someone might say, “I leave the Bible reading to my wife. She has more time for it than I do.”
That’s good for her but bad for you. You can’t live on the Word your wife puts in her heart any more than you can live on the food she eats. She could eat a meal for you three times a day. She could polish off one plateful for herself and another plateful for you. What would happen? She would get fat and you would starve.
The same is true with God’s Word. If you want to benefit from it, you have to get it for yourself. You have to put time into it. I’m not saying you have to study it for years before you see results. The Word can start changing things in your life very quickly, especially if you’ll concentrate on it and keep it in front of your eyes and in your ears every day.
“But Gloria, I can’t do that! I have a full-time job and family responsibilities to handle. My schedule is booked to the hilt.”
Maybe so, but most likely you still have several hours of the day available. For instance, when you get home from work, instead of watching the nightly news or staring at sitcoms on television, you could spend your evening in the Word.
That’s what Ken and I did. When we first found out about the goodness of God and how to access it by faith, we spent almost all our free time listening to preaching tapes and studying the Bible. There were wars being fought in the world and economic upheavals going on at that time, but we missed them because we were too focused on the Word to read the newspaper or watch TV.
I will admit, we did have a bit of an advantage over other people.
For one thing, we were desperate. We were like the men who gathered around David when he was being persecuted by Saul in the Old Testament. We were discontented, in distress and in debt (1 Samuel 22:2). In fact, not only were we in debt, we were without. We didn’t have a lot of the things we needed, and we were tired of living that way.
For another thing, we had very little else to do. Although Ken was a student at Oral Roberts University and was busy in the daytime, I was home with the children. I didn’t have a car and I didn’t have any money to spend. (It’s amazing how much free time you have when you have no car and no money!) So when we realized we’d finally found the answer to our problems, we sold out to God’s Word. We listened to it, read it and talked about it night and day. We went after the wisdom of God like other people go after gold and silver.
We didn’t get everything we wanted overnight, but our hearts began to change immediately. Within less than a year we were out of debt and were increasing financially, as well as in every other way.
We’ve been proclaiming God’s goodness ever since! In one way or another, for more than 47 years now, we’ve been saying what the Bible says in Psalm 145:1-4, 7: “I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.”
Over the years, we’ve discovered such praises are extremely evangelistic. People get interested in God when they hear about His goodness and His blessings. They’re drawn to Him when they see Christians living in joy, prosperity, health and peace—especially when they find out God wants them to have those things too.
Most unbelievers (and even some Christians) think God is the one who’s been causing them problems. Like Eve, they’ve fallen for the lie of the devil. But when they hear about and witness the goodness of God manifesting in our lives, they discover the truth: It’s not God but the devil who has been ruining everything for them. He’s the one who’s been making them sick, and tying up their money so their family doesn’t have enough food to eat, or clothes to wear or a good place to live.
Once people see how mean the devil really is, they’ll turn against him and run straight into the loving arms of God. They’ll make Jesus the Lord of their lives and come out from under the devil’s dominion. If they keep growing in faith, before long they’ll be talking just like you and me and Oral Roberts.
They’ll be preaching the good news and saying to everyone who will listen, “God is a good God!”