For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. Psalms 11:7
Whatever happened to virtue, morals, decency?
It seems to be a forgotten idea, one no longer in relevant in our world where relativism is the way of society. Do what thou wilt seems to be the law of the land and right and wrong are subject to each persons own perception. There is no standard, no absolutes, just a lot of people doing what feels right to them at that moment. It seems the world is bent on calling evil good and good evil just as the Scriptures said they would.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
God tells us there are absolutes, there are morals, decency is a thing to strive for, virtue is still relevant, and it most certainly matters. Consider for instance what James Ryle says in his book Rylisms concerning virtue:
It’s a word we don’t often hear much anymore. It didn’t use to be that way. A glance down the Hallway of History is illuminated with many great quotes regarding virtuous living. Here are but a few choice examples:
• “Even in decline, a virtuous man increases the beauty of his behavior. A burning stick, though turned to the ground, yet has its flame drawn upwards.”(Saskya Pandita, Tibetan Monk, 1120).
• “When a virtuous man is raised, it brings gladness to his friends, grief to his enemies, and glory to his posterity.” So said William Johnson, English Dramatist, 1572.
• “No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.” (Samuel Johnson, English poet 1750).
• Benjamin Franklin picked up on this and said, “There never was a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.” (1780).
• During the crisis of the Civil War, Frederick Douglas said, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” (1865).
I ask, Whatever happened to Virtue? Somewhere along the way we shifted gears and covertly turned a cold shoulder to such notions. And now we are a Nation more given to Vice than to Virtue. How did this happen?
Somewhere back there several years ago, a group of so-and-so’s decided to do a social experiment, which was founded upon the faulty notion that Life and all things in it is better without God. And they call this Enlightenment.
According to these illuminated and superior souls — Business is better without God. Politics are better without God. Education is better without God. Sex is better without God. Money is better without God. Society is better without God. The Arts are better without God.
But, clearly, such thinking is pure nonsense — and we see the full fruit of these sown seeds now shown openly in the dismal indifference which characterizes a society of non-virtuous people. Selfishness trumps self-sacrifice; personal interests take priority over the needs and concerns of others; petty arguments have replaced great debates — and this little piggy said, “ME, ME, ME,” all the way home.
But God is moving among us even still. He is summoning a people who hunger for that which is virtuous. Maybe you are one of them, and your heart is being drawn to the higher and nobler things of God. If that be so, then ponder Paul’s timeless counsel,
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
VIRTUE — A Cluster of Many Noble Things
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 2 Peter 1:3
The old familiar song says, “Love is a many splendored thing” (lyrics by Paul Francis Webster). In the same sentiment, “Virtue is a many ennobled thing.”
VIRTUE, in a word, is the character of Jesus Christ. It is the power of moral excellence which produces character so great, conduct so becoming, and conversation so compelling – that the world is never the same for having seen it, and experienced it, and heard it.
We were called to Jesus by His glory and virtue — not just to behold and adore it; but to share in it. To become ourselves an extension of it in our own sphere of influence. “The works that I do, you shall do,” Jesus said, “and even greater works than these shall you do, for I go to My Father.”
Imagine the impact upon this planet when the one Jesus of Nazareth becomes increasingly multiplied over and over in the millions of His followers all around the world. Why, a wave of virtue would sweep this globe in such measure that the glory of the Lord would cover the earth as waters cover the sea.
VIRTUE in not one thing; it is a cluster of many noble things. It is humility in victory; no gloating or taunting in the defeat of an opponent. It is silence in suffering; no whimpering or whining to others over the unfairness of our trials. It is generosity in wealth; no hoarding of great riches in excess of reason, while others suffer great excess of want.
Virtue is kindness in power; no cruelty and indifference to those who look to you for leadership. It is decisiveness in crisis; no waffling, or shifting, nor shirking of responsibilities. It is courage in battle; no cowering in fear while others take the hit.
Virtue is grace in greatness. May you in all things at all times be known as a virtuous person.
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. Mark 4:24
It grieves my heart to see the lack of virtue in the world today. To see sex everywhere – even in so called children’s programming, the most innocent of our society babies still in the womb are murdered by the millions every single day, people lie, cheat, steal and kill like I change clothes – it’s no big deal if it seems right to them. Mind altering substances are pushed, promoted and even celebrated by society, false religions are taught in our schools. But the name of Jesus or mentioning God will get a child thrown out and punished immediately. The sinnful fallen condition of this world is more apparent now than er and it’s time we do something about it. It’s time to start taking it back, brothers and sisters. Start taking a stand for God’s laws, the perfect 10 as I call them. Let’s stand for decency, turn off the t.v or walk out of the movie when the language or content is not something you’d want your child to see or hear. Or when the Lord’s name is used inappropriately, God’s is our Father, the Creator, he is holy, just and good- His name deserves to be treated as such. Let’s cry out for life, and against the violence and murder that fills the news each day. Let’s stand for purity, innocence, love. Real love, not the perversions that charade as it today. Let’s take back the world one moment at a time. We can do this with our Father leading us.
I won’t say it is easy, it isn’t always. We’ve had to make tough decisions that others didn’t always seem to get. We’ve turned off movies for the language, blasphemy, or adult content. We homeschool our son in part because God called us to get him out the secular school system, really a pagan environment where they teach the religion of evolution, humanism, even Islam now, but God’s name is forbidden and a child even silently praying to their Father or his Son is grounds for expulsion. Non-believing family members shun us, so called friends ignore us, people are mean when I openly proclaim my faith. But on the flip side because we don’t live like the world but try to live more like Jesus sometimes people notice. Sometimes it encourages a fellow believer to step out in faith as well. A simple God bless you to a stranger on the phone can speak volumes, or to a clerk in a store. You never know how God might use even the smallest step back to virtue! I urge you to start taking virtue back, proclaim the Lord’s name everyday, everywhere, let’s start a R3VOLUT1ON!
As always brothers and sisters in Christ may God the Father bless and keep you!