Why Do We Have to LEARN to do GOOD?
Have you ever been to a supermarket and the toddler in front of you begins to act up? The adorable-faced child starts throwing a tantrum because they want the candy, the toys, and all the things. I’ve been there time and time again. Heck, that’s been MY KID on a few occasions! But what makes these adorable children go from angel to devil in the snap of a finger?
Or better yet, how can we start out our day fresh-faced and full of hope, and end our day with anger or jealousy? Let’s take a look at Isaiah 1:16-17 and answer the question, “Why do we have to learn to do good?”
”Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.”
-Isaiah 1:16-17 ESV
STUDY the Word.
Isaiah 1:16-17 holds part of the answer for us. In this chapter, Isaiah is speaking to the evil, rebellious, toddler-tantrum-filled Israelites and Judah is being indicted for their numerous sins. This apostate nation has fallen so far from God and now God is bringing judgement.
God tells Judah (through Isaiah) to wash themselves clean and stop doing evil. In other words REPENT - Turn from your evil doings, your idolatry, and your apostasy and come back to Me.
Then in verse 17, something very interesting . . . LEARN TO DO GOOD. The Hebrew word for good is yaw-tab' and it means to be glad, joyful, pleasing, to do well/good, to make something beautiful.
We must LEARN to do good. We must LEARN to be pleasing. We must LEARN to be glad and joyful. We must LEARN to be beautiful. Why isn’t this concept innate?
APPLY the Word.
Paul says it like this, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19
We all have a sinful nature that does not die when we ask Jesus to come into our lives. That sinful nature must be crucified every single day as we become more and more like Jesus. The sins of comparison, jealousy, anger, sinful thoughts, idolatry, we could go on and on - must be crucified so that the new nature can live.
Doing good doesn’t come naturally to us because our sin nature is constantly struggling for control. Galatians 5:16-17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
Like the parent teaching the supermarket toddler to change their behavior, so the Word of God is the method by which we change ours. It is our instruction book, our manual, and a mirror that reflects our sinful nature in light of God’s righteousness.
LIVE the Word.
Day by day, like God instructs Israel, we must LEARN to do good. How? By being in His Word. By knowing the subtle ways the enemy whispers deception and lies into our thoughts. Through prayer and worship drawing near to the heart of God.
This is how we learn to do good.
This is how we become joyful and pleasing.
When we look to Him, emulate Him, and learn to be just like Him we learn to do good and in return, we become beautiful.