-Ness: To Be or Not To Be

Every now and then God will place a word upon my heart, and until I do something about it, I will see and hear it everywhere.  This week was one of those weeks.  As crazy as my life has been these past few weeks – last week I began a new Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit.  I’m doing Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit through the online community of Bible Café for Women {you can join in if you like – it’s not too late}.  Anyway, for those who don’t know, the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I want to have each one of them evident in my life but four of them caught my eye:  kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. 

What’s so special about those four?

They all end in -ness – the word that God had placed on my heart.

Now, -ness is not actually a word {unless one is talking about land and water or the Loch Ness monster} but a suffix.  In the English language, a suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning.  The suffix –ness means:  “state, quality, or instance of being.”

After a bit of research, I found out that there are at least 2874 words that end in –ness.  Interesting!  What’s even more interesting is the type of words that I found in the concordance of my Bible. 

Words like –


These words I want To Be

However, those were not the words that struck the core of my being – consider these:


These I do not want To Be

Even more interesting are these words:  Forgiveness, Righteousness, and Likeness

Forgiveness, in the context of the suffix –ness, means  to be in a constant state, or instance of being, of forgiving (my definition).  Forgiveness is something I’ve had lots of practice with here lately.  Christ spoke of forgiving our brothers not seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

Righteousness had the longest listing of Scriptures out of all of them.  According to Dictionary.com, righteousness is “acting in a just, upright manner; doing what is right.”  Since I don’t always act like this, I’m thankful for Forgiveness.

This last word is the kicker:  Likeness.  I struggle with this one because its meaning, copy, is one that all humans have.  Genesis 1:26 states, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (emphasis mine).  Imagine that – I am a copy.  My struggle with it is that since I’m a copy and sometimes I act like that list of words that I don’t want To Be, sometimes I get full of guiltiness. 

Nevertheless, back to Forgiveness I go, asking Him and others to forgive me.  Asking Him to remove the feeling of guiltiness and bitterness – and asking Him to place in me instead, kindness, goodness, and gentleness (along with the rest of the “good” –ness words).

So today, I am creating two new –ness words bringing the total to 2876:  Followingness and Servingness.  I want To Be in a constant state of Following and Serving.

What word would you like To Be or Not To Be?  Post a comment (you don’t have to leave your last name) – especially if it’s not on one of the two above lists.  I’d love to be part of your willingness to share.

Thanking Him every day for His FaithFulNess,


PS – Even though weakness sounds like a “bad” word, it’s in my weakness that HE is Strong!! that makes it a “good” word in my book.



About Follow 2 Serve {Lorna}

I am a follower of Christ and I love to serve Him. I am married with two sons. I received my Liberal Arts Associate Degree in May of 2012. My hobbies are reading, crocheting, quilting, knitting, nature photography, and being with my sons.
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4 Responses to -Ness: To Be or Not To Be

  1. Dianne says:

    “Quietness”, That is something that I have been working on for several weeks. I have been given an assignment from the Pastor of my Church on how to become a better Christian. The first lesson is “Quietness”, I have to learn to set aside time each day to work on my “Quietness” with, prayer, read Bible and work on the lessons. The first week was not so easy, but as time goes on I find myself looking forward to my “Quietness” with God”.
    Glory to God

  2. Mary Ballard says:

    humbleness…sometimes we think more highly of ourselves and it gets into our thinking. I find myself reading the paper or even taking calls at work that leave me judging other people, which is the opposite of what I need to be. Its easy to get caught up reading about a person that does a home invasion or robbery or even chains a child to a desk and only thinking judgmental thoughts, when I believe God requires us to have compassion on those that are wronged and to pray for those that are in these situations. It is not in our nature to pray for wicked people when actually we forget that the people themselves are not wicked, just the acts that they do. Lord, help me with humbleness and teach me not to be compassionless.

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