He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
I’ve been reading Titus lately and three times in one chapter Paul tells us to do what is good (Titus 3:1, 8 & 14). How do we define doing good? We can look at passages like this one in Micah or the Ten Commandments but we won’t find specifics on every issue. In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees tried to define, in minute detail, what constituted good works and what they should avoid doing on the Sabbath. By creating so many rules and regulations to keep the letter of the law, they ended up breaking the spirit of it.
It isn’t God’s intention that we have detailed lists on what constitutes “doing good” but rather God wants to guide us by his Spirit. “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees” (Ezekiel 36:27). Perhaps this is why Paul also points out “… avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9). Trying to define specific details of “doing good” becomes unprofitable and useless.
Instead, we devote our efforts to becoming more sensitive to God’s Spirit within us as he will move us to do good. This is a much more difficult task. We cannot simply copy someone else’s understanding of doing good, as we all have different roles to fulfil in God’s house (2 Timothy 2:20). It’s an on-going challenge to grow in our relationship with God so we know specifically what he is saying to us.