Monday, March 2, 2009

An Exploration of Virtue

I'd like to take you on a journey. A journey to more closely resemble Christ through our virtue. Let’s begin an exploration of the virtue we should all be striving for in our lives.

I'm not sure how many days this quest will take, so be prepared to go the distance. You might need to fill up a back pack with food and water, in case you need to replenish along the way. How ever long it takes though, be assured, with God, every adventure is full of excitement.

So what in the world is virtue anyway?

According to our trusty Webster’s dictionary, virtue is described as:
1-general moral excellence; right action and thinking; goodness or morality.
2-a specific moral quality regarded as good and meritorious.

Moral excellence. Not exactly something high on the priority list of most folks these days, wouldn't you say? Despite the direction of society, God hasn't changed and neither have his expectations of us. We are to live a life of right action, right thinking, and morality, filled with goodness that comes from the Spirit that lives within us.

With all that we have to combat in today’s society, we are still called to the same moral aptitude that was required when Christ walked the earth. Today we hear things like: "If it feels good I should be able to do it", "speaking against gay rights is discrimination" or "everyone does it so we should accept it". These things do make it more difficult to stay committed to virtue, but not impossible. God is looking for those of us who will stand firm in our convictions and stick to the word of God unchanged. But in that, we don't have to go it alone. He promises to be there with us as we stand unmoved and society continues to lose its moral standards.

Where do we begin? Let’s start with the second definition of virtue, the specific moral qualities regarded as good and meritorious. We begin to seek after and grow within us the qualities regarded by God as good and of merit to us. Not an easy task when your sin nature is fighting against it but possible by the power we have been given. The Holy Spirit is what gives us the power to grow and change the qualities within.

Through abiding in Christ and staying in communion with the Spirit, He develops, with our cooperation, virtuous qualities in us. We receive the very qualities possessed by Christ Himself.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Abiding in Christ is the only way we can truly bear fruit. The virtues of moral excellence, I believe would be considered fruit in our life. As we work out of our virtues, we can then touch the lives of others.

But there is more than just abiding in the Spirit needed. We must begin to study and absorb the word of God. It needs to become part of who we are. The only way it can do that is to consistently dowse ourselves in its living water. Read it, study it, memorize it and meditate on it. We must eat it, drink it, live it and know it. Eventually when we do this, we will breathe it, like its air to us.

It will be the change force used by the spirit to mold our likeness. Then people will need to take a second look when they are around us. Thinking, "wait a minute, did I just see Jesus?"

Stay tuned..... Tomorrow we continue our journey! Let's explore a little more together.

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