As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in you.”
- Psalm 87:7
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
- Ephesians 4:20-24
”Our Lord never ‘patches up’ our natural virtues, that is, our natural traits, qualities, or characteristics. He completely remakes a person on the inside— ‘…put on the new man…’ (Ephesians 4:24). In other words, see that your natural human life is putting on all that is in keeping with the new life. The life God places within us develops its own new virtues, not the virtues of the seed of Adam, but of Jesus Christ. Once God has begun the process of sanctification in your life, watch and see how God causes your confidence in your own natural virtues and power to wither away. He will continue until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through this drying-up experience!
“The sign that God is at work in us is that He is destroying our confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but only a wasted reminder of what God created man to be. We want to cling to our natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us in contact with the life of Jesus Christ— a life that can never be described in terms of natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people who are trying to serve God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them. They are depending solely on what they have by virtue of heredity. God does not take our natural virtues and transform them, because our natural virtues could never even come close to what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.
“And every virtue we possess
Is His alone.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
What is the line from Philippians 4 about being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us?
Most people think that their human strength comes from God, thus they rely on that strength, but our every virtue comes from God and is God’s alone. Yesterday’s post was on virtue signaling, but this is on true virtue. As Jesus said (tremendously paraphrased) “When you virtue signal, you have received your reward in full.” But if you show true virtue. That was not your doing, but God working through you. Thus, anyone bragging about having great virtue, is not telling the truth. God used you to exhibit virtue. Not much of a brag.
And this may seem like semantics, but be honest. You do an altruistic deed, and you puff up with pride. Why? Did you do the deed out of the feeling that you were obliged to do it? Did you do it to feel better about yourself? Did you do it because God nudged you in that direction? And if you had the idea that God, or worse someone you wanted to impress, was not watching, would you have done it?
Please keep doing those things, but becoming proud of your virtue is simply a singular, rather than a corporate, virtue signal, being seen as being “good” rather than being good.
Doing those things through that inner voice that says that they need doing for the glory of God? Now you are talking! When our desire is to please and glorify God, desiring anonymity, if possible, we are coming close to being virtuous, but even then, it is God within us, making us more like Jesus.
There is the old saying that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Whenever I do anything, I am more apt to make the silk purse look like a sow’s ear. So, when something goes right, I have to point toward Jesus within me.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.