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Sundown Devotional: Being Good Versus Doing Good

MsDora, former teacher and Christian counselor presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

The Devotional

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

My little seven year old cousin and our neighbor's seven-year old daughter were close friends, most of the time. At other times, their relationship had off-days (really off-hours or minutes) when they didn't communicate because one upset the other. One afternoon, after my cousin announced that she and her friend were not on speaking terms, she surprised us by asking for some extra dinner, which she intended to share with the temporary non-friend.

My mother was surprised, but she granted her request. My little cousin got ready to walk across to the neighbor's yard to deliver the food. As she left, she said in an obvious vexed tone of voice. "I want to see her choke."

When certain individuals and groups consider us kind, responsible and generous among other virtues, they may place us on their good-people list. However, the more commendations we receive, the more likely we are to forget that while people judge our actions, God judges our hearts. We do not benefit when we impress others with our good deeds, while our motives condemn us.

How good are we when we respond to offenses with an unforgiving spirit, which we cover up behind bright smiles? Do we forget that God knows the truth when we show kindness to someone only because we expect a return on our generosity? The challenge is to surrender to God's Spirit and allow Him to reside in our hearts. It is His nature to produce "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness" (Galatians 5:22) and all the other virtues which produce good deeds.

Without this spiritual enabler inside us, negative words of condemnation, attitudes of resentment and habits of discrimination can grow into hate without disturbing our posture of seeming goodness. It's all about surrendering to God's love for us, and realizing that our love for Him is manifested in our love toward others. (1 John 4:20) Good deeds come from good hearts which are filled with God's love.

Finally, Spirit-filled believers do not perform good deeds just to earn a do-gooder reputation. The purpose of our goodness is to mirror the goodness of God in our interaction with our family, friends and strangers. It is His goodness to us which makes us strive to be good to others. The more grateful we are for His goodness, the easier it becomes to be genuinely good to others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let us focus on being versus only doing good. May we represent Your goodness in our good deeds to others, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Good heart leads to good work with the hands.

Good heart leads to good work with the hands.

Quotes on Being Good (Having a Good Heart)

  1. “Striving to be good is the ultimate struggle of every man...Being good requires sincere commitment, discipline and strength.” ―Suzy Kassem.”
  2. “To care about your outward appearance is important, but what’s more important is to have a beautiful soul.” ―Roy T. Bennett
  3. “Good heart leads to good work with the hands.” ―Lailah Gifty Akita
  4. “When you have a good heart, kindness becomes a responsibility you take up.” ―Ufuoma Apoki
  5. “Do good and be a good person because that’s just what the Lord expects...It’s what the Lord expects.” ―Andrew Galasetti
  6. “Sometimes, we may discover we helped the wrong person, but that should not be a reason to stop helping other people in need, even though we were fooled . . . Don’t let the fools spoil your good heart.”
    Nico J. Genes
  7. “Sometimes being kind allows others to see the goodness in humanity through you. Always be kinder than necessary.” ―Germany Kent
  8. A magnetic personality doesn't necessarily indicate a good heart. ―Laura Linney
  9. “A good heart is the finest ornament, the best makeup, the best cloth, the best jewel, the best lipstick and the best earring!” ―Mehmet Murat ildan
  10. “With everything in life, you have to look down deep into your heart! That fact is true with all things! If you have Jesus inside, He will give you all you need to say, and all the actions you need to do!” ―Mary Kate
Look down deep into your heart!

Look down deep into your heart!

More Sundown Devotionals

  • Sundown Devotional: Choose to Encourage Yourself
    Despair is no stranger to Christians. We sometimes lack the awareness to see God in the gloom. We may choose to give up, but we can also choose to get up from "under" to "above" the circumstances.
  • Sundown Devotional: Going Home Ready and Glad
    Do we long for our heavenly home? Why then do we frighten each other with so many WhatsApp texts highlighting distress and disasters? Why not send messages confirming our joy and inviting others to get ready?

Impact Poll

© 2016 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2019:

Denise, thanks for your input. We need reminders often enough.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 06, 2019:

You really said it like it is. It really bothers me when people say they are Christian and don't even try to act like Christ. Thanks for sharing this reminder.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 05, 2019:

Besarien, thanks for your supportive comment. I appreciate you taking the time to share your godly insight.

Besarien from South Florida on July 05, 2019:

All of this is inspirational, Miss Dora, but I love the first quote the best. God does want us to love one another and forgive when necessary. Holding hatred in out hearts only weakens us and turns us away from from everything good.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 09, 2018:

Anthony, thank you very much for your contribution to this important topic.

Anthony. on August 08, 2018:

I know what you mean, they say we don't go beyond the things written but that's exactly what some have done. They fit God into a system they created, call it theocrasy, a word "borrowed" then sanction anyone who disappoves almost as if going against God himself. That goes against so many N/T verses.

You can never own or have a personal faith while it's attached to a system with endless laws that's gone above the things written. If you can't walk away from it with you're faith in tact, then theres an issue going on somewere. God is way above and beyond all these regulations which give an appearance of wisdon "Colossians 2:23"

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 07, 2018:

Thanks, Anthony. That is also one of my favorite things about God-that fact that nobody gets to vote on what He does.

Anthony. on August 06, 2018:

"Really like number 3" Dora.

That's how i worked things out myself as well.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 05, 2016:

Kiss and Tales, thank you for reading and supporting my efforts. Also for underscoring that "the test is applying what we learn." Praying that these reminders help us to focus.

Kiss andTales on December 05, 2016:

Hello Ms Dora time has flew past us and Gods blessings granted to each .

Thank you for that wonderful hub of reminders , we never know it all , but the test is applying what we learn.

Especially how we treat our fellow man.

As you brought up we can not love God or Jesus if we are hating our fellow neighbors.

We can try to fool people behind a screen , but who you really are he lnows. And sometime the mask fall's and you see the truth.

Thank you I appreciate you very much.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 05, 2016:

Rajan, I appreciate your very valuable input on this topic. Very agreeable and helpful.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 05, 2016:

What great lessons our scriptures provide, and I believe all scriptures in essence say the same things though we as humans interpret them to our benefit/liking.

If people read them and followed them as they mean there would be so much more peace all around.

A very precious read. Thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 21, 2016:

Ann, you said it perfectly. Thanks for your affirmation.

Ann810 from Sunny Cali on September 21, 2016:

It' true, serving those that are the least, is just as important to God. Humble servants will serve blue collar employees, just the same as they would if it were a celebrity. Awesome article, thanks.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 17, 2016:

Thanks, Devika. Positive feedback encourages me.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 14, 2016:

A beautiful hub!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 13, 2016:

Thanks, Bill. You always encourage me, and I appreciate you. It is so much easier to receive and share when the lesson is practical.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 13, 2016:

Well, I see I'm late again. But better late than never. I love the way you mix feeding us meat while at the same time making it practical - a good check for all of us. Thanks, MsDora.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 13, 2016:

Well, I see I'm behind again. I never get any notifications so I have to go looking, but I'm never disappointed when it comes to your hubs. So much meat to what you give us - and in a practical, live it out way. Thanks, Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 10, 2016:

Vellur, how improved our lives would be if we followed His example. It's a lifetime effort. Thanks for your comment.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 10, 2016:

A great message to read and remember. God is too kind and forgiving, and we as humans should follow that, however, difficult it may be.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 09, 2016:

Thanks, Dream. I receive your mail with gratitude. Your attitude is worth imitating; of course, that would be imitating the mind of God. I appreciate you for sharing these God-centered thoughts.

DREAM ON on September 09, 2016:

MsDora Because God is all knowing and all loving I try to focus on any good qualities I may have and try to expand on them. This keeps me so busy it prevents my bad habits from surfacing because I am not fighting the bad I am so inspired, excited, passionate,giving, caring, sharing, loving all the things I feel God wants us to be. In this way I am following God in my heart, body and soul. I think once we fill our lives with so many flaws or ways or thoughts that harm others we keep in this treadmill of unfortunate and sad sircumstances. I love your hub so much especially when you talk about we can not know what God is thinking. I do know when I do the smallest thing and no matter what it is. If it's letting someone talk when know one else would. Giving someone a happy and sincere hello. Thinking ahead before someone asks if they need help. Carrying a bundle or just giving them company when needed. I feel an enormous love I can't describe which I strongly feel is God. I believe God would be happy with what I am trying to achieve. So many things I do go under the radar but I feel with all my senses like a I am the littlest star. I found a way to light up the sky where it is dark What do you think? Thank you for sharing God and all your love not just now but in everything you do.I hope you receive this in good health with an abundant of heavenly thoughts. I constantly send them in my mind like a I am sending mail but this way I don't have to pay postage or need a fancy computer. I am using Gods gift my mind to spread the word of love. You've got mail.(lol) Of a creative kind.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 08, 2016:

Thanks, Teaches for lending your weight to this discussion. I have great respect for your contribution.

Dianna Mendez on September 08, 2016:

I remind myself often that God is in control and doesn't always think like we do when it comes to solutions. Your thoughts on loving God but hating your brother is another good lesson to remember -- we are limiting our effects on others if we cannot forgive.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 08, 2016:

Thanks Shauna. You really know to put the message in a nutshell. I appreciate you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 08, 2016:

Beautiful hub and gentle reminder to not let judgment and selfishness shadow the way we treat others. Nicely said, Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 08, 2016:

Thanks, Frank. There's one thing we should never forget about Him. We certainly need Him like we need air.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on September 08, 2016:

A very good share MsDora, God is like the air, we forget it's all around us, but we need it..:) thank you for the share

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 07, 2016:

Jodah, it is the joy in helping others that I really want to get across. Thanks for the entire comment but especially for that final sentence.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 07, 2016:

RTalloni, thanks for your supportive comment. I like your statement that "When God's glory is our desire and motive it is easier (in spite of offenses) to kindly try and work with people to help them . . ." You help to solidify that in me also.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 07, 2016:

Faith, I love that the grandchildren takes precedence. Thanks for your kind comment, affirming that the message is relevant.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 07, 2016:

What a wonderful hub, MsDora, and one that I hope many people read. You highlight so many important lessons and what being a "good person" really involves. You mention some of the most important scripture verses. We need to be humble about our good deeds and not expect accolades. Just rejoice in our ability to help others.

RTalloni on September 07, 2016:

Thanks much for a look at thinking about remembering these things this morning! I often think about how inconceivably big God is and rejoice in His kindness in not dealing with us according to our iniquities before Him (Ps. 103). It's easy to think that we want justice from God when we are wronged but we need to be careful to remember that what we want is His mercy for ourselves and, therefore, for others because of Jesus' work at the Cross.

The human heart being exactly what God says it is, we have much to be thankful for in His immeasurable kindness to all who turn to Him according to His Word. Once we have come to Him through Jesus the Christ, remembering that He does know and understand hidden thoughts and intents (our true motives) allows us to turn to Him for help to have a humble and contrite heart as we worship and serve Him (serving others in His Name).

Studying the counsel of His entire Word that we (our service/life) might be approved is the key to knowing how to respond to God and other people. When God's glory is our desire and motive it is easier (in spite of offenses) to kindly try and work with people to help them, but maintaining that desire and motive can at times be very difficult without carefully remembering God's mercy to me through His Son. Thanks again for the opportunity to ponder these things today.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 06, 2016:

MsDora,

We had our precious grandsons up for the long weekend, so I am behind in my reading.

This is such a beautiful reminder of God's true character and He certainly does tell us in His Word that if we do not love, we do not know Him. What a relevant message for all time and especially now!

We should look like Christ and not the world.

This article is filled with His beautiful truths, as is your faithful heart.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 06, 2016:

Thanks, Audrey. Your encouragement boosts the love in my faith. I appreciate you!

Audrey Howitt from California on September 06, 2016:

I love the love in your faith--this is just spot on for me--happy Tuesday to you!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 06, 2016:

John, thanks for the boost you gave me in this comment. I appreciate you and may God be praised!

johnmariow on September 05, 2016:

This post reminds me of the book titled "Imitation of Christ" written by Thomas A Kempis in the early 1400s. Wikipedia describes the book as "a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member."

The theme of this excellent post is essentially the imitation of everything Christ preached and practiced.

Lori Colbo from United States on September 05, 2016:

Thank you for sharing Dora. I use got questions.org quite a bit. Bless you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Audrey, I appreciate your very positive comment. "How do we show our love to God? By loving one another." You nailed it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Lori, thanks for the feedback. Happy that you could relate to my observations. Like you, I am also disciplined by this message.

The Bible does not give a direct definition on hate, but I found an article on GotQuestions.org Home from which I quote:

"Biblically speaking, there are positive and negative aspects to hatred. It is acceptable to hate those things that God hates; indeed, this is very much a proof of a right standing with God. “Let those who love the Lord hate evil” (Psalm 97:10a) . . .

"However, the hatred that is negative surely has to be that which is directed against others. . . So heinous is the position of hate before God that a man who hates is said to be walking in darkness, as opposed to the light (1 John 2:9, 11). The worst situation is that of a man who continues professing religion but remains at enmity with his brother. The Scriptures declare that such a person is a liar (1 John 4:20), and he may fool men, but not God. . .

"Let us be careful to do as the Lord advised and keep short accounts with everyone about everything, no matter how small, and the Lord will be faithful to forgive, as He has promised (1 John 1:9; 2:1)."

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Denise, thank you for your endorsement. I believe in your summary: "Loving him is the most important thing we can do," and that goes even for us who write the reminder.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Manatita, thank you for your uplifting comment. Let's continue to write from our hearts with a prayer that those who feel the need for our message will find it and accept it. Usually though, the writer is the first one who benefits.

Lori Colbo from United States on September 05, 2016:

I must add the photo of the church reveals in fine detail my former country church on a grander scale.

A question- what is the biblical definition of hate?

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on September 05, 2016:

"Let go and let God" works well for me. You have delivered such a powerful and beautiful message. How we do need to remind ourselves of your timely words.

The following is great: "Matt Appling, pastor and teacher counsels that it is when believers “demonstrate God in a still, small voice, in the context of love and friendship that God can actually speak to people.”

We must spread love now. God's love includes everyone regardless of faith, religion or race. How do we show our love to God? By loving one another.

Thank you dear friend for your beautiful heart.

Audrey

Lori Colbo from United States on September 05, 2016:

I must add the photo of the church reveals in fine detail my former country church on a grander scale. It's uncanny.

Also a couple of your points were.holding a mirror to me, not too flattering but a reminder to change

Lori Colbo from United States on September 05, 2016:

What a fabulous refresher course for the Body of Christ. On a personal level there were a few more significantly applicable to me, that I needed to be reminded of. You never disappoint Dora, as your heart so greatly reflects our Lord. Thank you.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on September 05, 2016:

This message is sorely needed at this time of political unrest and social turmoil. We all would do well to examine our own motives and actions, and check those things that we do "in the name of God" that only serve our own agendas! Loving him is the most important thing we can do, and we show that love by how we treat others.

manatita44 from london on September 05, 2016:

A most powerful, sublime, lofty and yet necessary, easy to grasp and essential one for us all. This one is a real diamond, Dee. I say "Open Sesame!" as in my last poem, and your carousel of gems hits me real hard at the Gateway of the Unknown.

What a beautiful Hub, so well-meaning and yet, some will not grasp it, I fear. At least I won't challenge, sing my own song, as this may tarnish this extremely beautiful write. Let us work together... to Love, serve, worship, praise...give glory to the One. Alleyuia! Glory Be!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Bill, I can tell that you have put lots of good advice to work. Thanks for the feedback.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2016:

Nell, thanks for including that quote from the Saint. I've always admired her work. She was to many of us a genuine example of goodness.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 05, 2016:

The best advice I ever received was to just get out of the way and let God do the work. I've tried never to forget that.

Thank you for a beautiful reminder.

Nell Rose from England on September 05, 2016:

Love your words MsDora, and so true. I do remember Mother Theresa, now a Saint! said 'Just because I look like I am doing good doesn't mean that I enjoy it all the time'! or something like that. In other words she meant that sometimes she hated it, but did it. other times she was tired but carried on and so forth, so being good is not always easy, and I am so glad they have made her a Saint!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Whonu, God bless you too. Thanks for this and all your other encouraging comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Kiss and Tales, I appreciate the solemn tone in your comment. The last verse you quoted appeals to our humility without which we may never improve. Thank you.

whonunuwho from United States on September 04, 2016:

Very nice message MsDora, and many blessings to you and yours, my friend. whonu

Kiss andTales on September 04, 2016:

Wonderfully written Ms Dora ! You touched on some important things about our Heavenly Father.

It is so important to know the list you have provided !, because it's vital if we want to keep living on this planet .

Notice what can be the case.

2Th 1:8 in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.

Here it is clear !not knowing the Heavenly Father would be a judgment of death.

Basically because people declined the opportunity.

They did not want to know him.

Also there are things he does want us to know and the bible is full of that infomation.

But we can accept it or reject it.

1Co 2:16 For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Thanks again, Rich. Your stories are perfect illustrations of the prejudice (precursor to hate) cultivated and promoted by people who consider themselves good. In their efforts to maintain their goodness, they misrepresent God who requires that we love each other and that we treat others the way we should want to be treated. Hate is a crisis of great proportion among self-righteous people. May God grant us the grace and courage to learn from Him how to love.

Rich Kelley from The Ekklesia on September 04, 2016:

MsDora

Your comment about trying to reach out to other faiths reminded me of the below.

I just listen to a Christian speaker (an Islam convert) mention that no one would fellowship with his mother. The same speaker mentioned that an Iranian he knew of came to America with a suitcase full of little gifts to present when asked over to people’s houses. Months later when the man returned to Iran his suit case was still full as no one had asked him into their homes.

I’ve been sent the circulating e-mail that wants to ensure people don’t buy products that are Halal certified because it would support terrorism. It is easy to see through the hate and misinformation. I mentioned that if someone buys certified USDA beef does that mean they are for abortion because in the USA abortion is government sanctioned? Hate is so easy to spread, it usually requires less time and not many brain cells.

Thanks again

Rich

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Rich, thanks for your comment which so aptly adds to the explanation of that topic. I endorse your statement that "The more we follow after Christ the more we will be like Him." The verses you quoted from Ephesians are among the promises I claim for my children that they be enlightened.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Flourish, my aim was to reach out to members of different faiths, so I appreciate you letting me know that I possibly did. I appreciate your continual encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Jackie, thanks for your concern about my personal happiness. Gradually, my mind is regaining clarity. Your comment is on target. I believe that God wants us to get to the place where we do the right thing for the right reason.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Word, I appreciate your encouragement. There is so much about God that we need to focus on; our thinking would be clearer and our actions wiser.

Rich Kelley from The Ekklesia on September 04, 2016:

MsDora

"We Cannot Fully Understand God"

In order to fully understand God you would have to know what He knows and that would make you about equal with Him. This is not to say that we are not to seek wisdom and knowledge. The wisdom and knowledge from God is not one thing to one person and something different to another.

I know that there are some bent on forcing what they believe down others throats claiming it is knowledge and wisdom from God and that is wrong. Their incorrect actions should not discount the fact that we are to seek wisdom and knowledge.

I'm sure that all that claim to be disciples of the Messiah that God has sent into the world would love to have the below scriptures working in their lives. His wisdom, knowledge, and revelation is not for control or domination of people. The more we follow after Christ the more we will be like Him.

Eph 1:17-21 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Thank you for the Hub

Rich

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 04, 2016:

Fantastic religious hub with implications for people of all faiths. I especially appreciated the message you imparted in #1 and 2. Shared.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 04, 2016:

What this brought to mind for me Dora is our giving and "outward appearance" rather. God does not want us showing off with our gifts and good deeds we do in His name. Many are trying to work their way to Heaven and they just cannot do it and the sooner they start giving in secret the sooner they will know God's way.

You always give such great food for thought.

I hope life is being good to you and you are finding happiness despite your loss. God bless you in all things and look over you no matter what comes your way.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on September 04, 2016:

Another good read, another multi-lesson to receive. As usual there is so muh depth. Thank so much Dora, for sharing your wisdom.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Thanks for reading, Eric. You have my permission to share. I wish I had the privilege of participating in such discussions.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 04, 2016:

Thank you, Eric. We learn from each other. What a blessing!

Ed Palumbo from Tualatin, OR on September 04, 2016:

MsDora, I enjoyed reading it and the points you've made. With your permission, some of these issues have come up in recent discussion and I'd like to use some of your comments as "ammunition" while sharing who provided the comments.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 04, 2016:

Just fantastic. What a great gift you have been given. You fill me with understanding.

Perhaps this is one of my favorite thoughts ever, that I must always keep in mind: "Those who forget how big God is often think that He needs their help to straighten out other people. They mean well, but they get in His way."

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