B – BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE – 2
The blocks on which we build our life are so important. The church’s foundation is built on the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. Our personal lives need to be built on Christ. No beginning is possible without a strong faith—a faith that keeps growing in Christ. Knowledge is our next block for we need to understand our Lord and our God. This also grows deeper and deeper as our understanding grows. As we learn, we find out how to please our Lord in our actions. We grow in our understanding of what our “new life” should be.
1 Pet.1:5 Before the next building block is added, Peter says and besides this very reason. 1 Pet.1:4 This reason is that we can be partakers in the divine nature or Christlike and escape the pollution of the world. Notice, it will take diligence. It will take care, hard work, and effort. We don’t do it alone. We have the help of the Holy Spirit within us. 2 Peter 1:3 We have to have a great desire to obtain and progress.
So the next building block is a word that is not always understood. That word is virtue. Sometimes virtue is translated “goodness” or “moral excellence”. Virtue requires courage, energy, and boldness with vigor. Prov.13:4 The words of Joshua would be appropriate in striving for virtue. Josh.23:6
Excellence before the world is not that for which we strive. It is excellence before God. Mic.6:8 Justice, kindness, humility would be included in virtue. We are given a promise in Ezek.18:22. God loves us and wants the best for us but we must do our best for Him. Any virtue or righteousness that we may have comes from God. Jhn.3:21 As an excellent wife is described in Proverbs, this verse becomes important to us. Prov.31:30 How we should strive to be known as Ruth was known. Ruth 3:11
Virtue requires ction. It is not just a passive word. Even a lazy person pursues something. It may be sleep, staying out of work, sitting to be entertained or any number of things that requires little or nothing of exertion. Others pursue evil and cunning with hateful spirits. Virtue is not this way.
Another English definition of virtue is “a love of right and the conscious desire to follow right”. This makes virtue an important building block of the Christian life and one in which we must grow for we want our lives to glorify God each day. Matt. 5:16
Striving for moral excellence, we need to use care in what we do and say. Col.3:17 But what we think is the cause of the effect of what we do and say. Consequently, our minds must be kept pure. The apostle, Paul, gives us a filter for our thinking in Phil.4:8 Why so? Because what goes in, comes out. Our eyes and our ears feed our minds. Are we consuming the spiritual food we need to live a virtuous life—one that loves right with a strong desire to follow what is right and true. It isn’t a matter of what I want or what I enjoy but what pleases my Lord who shed His blood for me.
If we seek the Lord with a desire to love and do right, He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil.4:7 We must work to achieve this virtue. Will our experiences of today and tomorrow help us in this goal or will our experiences detract from a spiritual walk? Will we have the courage to make the changes we need to make and stand for the things that will enable us to partake of that divine image. 2 Pet.1:4 We must never forget those precious promises given to us as in 2 Pet.1:3.
We are not developing attributes or pursuits to please men but to please God. Acts 5:29 What an example for us. They said this at the point of being arrested. We need courage to have virtue.
Where is our treasure? Is it to love right and the desire to do what is right? The following verse may speak of material things but it is very true of our pursuits, also. We will work for the thing we treasure. We will have a passion for it. Matt.6:21 If we truly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, then we will prepare to do all that is necessary to build our lives with virtue. Lk.10:27
At this point we will love right and be ready to choose right with strength (Eph.6:10), fight for right with courage (1 Tim.6:12), pursue right with knowledge (2 Tim.2:15), influence for right with kindness but firmness (Gal.6:1), and live for right with love (Jhn.14:15).. With the pursuit of virtue based on a living faith, the other fruit of the spirit will have rich soil from which to blossom.
To be virtuous, we will want to develop and grow in the fruit of the spirit as found in Gal.5:22,23. Think about each one of these to consider the need of developing. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Our need to keep growing in all of these attributes is crucial in our growth to be full of virtue.
A quote from Channing is an important consideration. “All virtue lies in individual action, in inward energy, and in self-determination”. We will have God’s help through the Holy Spirit, but it must begin with us.
We conclude with some important questions. What is our main pursuit? What is our first love? With what are we filling our minds? Let us be diligent to guard our minds in Christ Jesus that we may have virtue and praise—not of men but from God. Let us love right with all our effort of courage and strength which is mightily given to us by our dear Savior that we may pursue right to the end of our days.
Let us heed the instruction that Paul gave to Titus in Titus 2:11-13