Saturday, November 11, 2006

Adding Virtue

The first thing we are to provide in our faith then is virtue. But what is virtue? Doing some digging into what this means, I discovered that the word implies moral goodness or excellence. It is the characteristic of being outstanding morally – being eminent. It implies the working of divine power in a person. John MacArthur describes it this way, “…the God-given ability to perform heroic deeds. It also came to mean that quality of life which made someone stand out as excellent. It never meant cloistered virtue, or virtue of attitude, but virtue which is demonstrated in life. Peter is here writing of moral energy, the power that performs deeds of excellence.”
Why would moral goodness or excellence be the first trait that should be provided to our faith? It seems to me that without such virtue, our faith appears worthless. As James tells us, "faith without works is dead." What good is faith if there is no virtue in the life? Also, virtue provides a better soil in which faith can flourish. By this I mean that as a Christian, our faith is better able to produce its normal results when the life is not hindered and distracted by moral failures and weakness. If we are to be diligent in adding virtue to our faith, that means that during each day as we are out and about interacting in our world, we need to make sure that virtue is at the top of our list. When we are at work, we should be virtuous in all we do. When we are at home, our wife and kids ought to be able to see that virtue is outstanding in our life. It should show up in the attitudes we display when helping with the dishes, interacting with the children or making financial decisions. Do we have the courage to turn off the TV when the programs are not characterized by virtue? How can we add virtue to our faith? We do this by learning to be obedient to the Word of God and His Spirit. As we read and understand God's Word, the Spirit shows us where we are failing to live up to who we are as Christians. As He reveals these things to us, we need to repent and take steps to change our behavior or attitudes. In this way we are adding virtue to our lives. As we learn to live this way, we will become increasingly sensitive to areas where virtue may not have its proper place in our lives.

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