Are you a good person? Seems like a simple question, but we use the word good to mean such different things. “Fido was a good dog” doesn’t mean the same thing as “Wow, that was a good pizza!” (At least, I hope not!) Being a good warrior isn’t the same as being a good lover.
So, what does it mean to be a “good” person? God tells us that we must add goodness to faith in order to have “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3, 5). Before we can add it, we must first know what goodness is.
Goodness relates to both purpose and to pleasure. A good musician is one who plays his instrument with skill. He may, however, be a lousy cook; his goodness is related to his purpose - music. But his goodness is also a product of what pleases. He may be skilled at playing polkas on a steel guitar, but, if his audience is into classic rock, they won’t find his music “good”.
A good car is one that fulfills its basic purpose of reliably getting me from one place to another. But, for me, a bit of power is pleasing. You, however, may find fuel efficiency more pleasing and laugh at my wasteful consumption as my Z3 zips away from your Prius at the traffic light. Our cars are “good” to us because they fulfill their purpose and they please us.
That’s what makes people good, too – purpose and pleasure. We are created in God’s image and our purpose is to reflect that image. As Peter puts it, we “participate in the divine nature” (v. 4). We are good people to the degree that we fulfill that purpose.
People are also intended to please God. Not that we are toys for his amusement; we are his children. He wants to watch us grow and learn and succeed, just as parents so much pleasure in seeing their own children do well. Different parents have varied expectations for their children, and God has his unique desires for us. To know what pleases our Father, we need look no farther than Jesus, of whom God said, “with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5).
Let’s be good people. Purpose and pleasure. Let’s live today for God’s purpose instead of our own. Let’s seek to please him instead of pleasing ourselves. That’s how we add goodness to faith.