Virtue’s Smiling Face


Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s usually easier to do the thing that best suits your personal desires; it’s the consequences of those decisions that aren’t so easy to deal with.

Our culture doesn’t try to hide its disdain for virtue. For the most part, people feign disappointment when they hear of some well-known public figure doing something that is looked down upon. The problem is, it’s only looked down upon publicly; in many cases, those same behaviors and actions are often lauded in private. At the least, they are considered acceptable.

The problem is we see virtue as a stuffy suit, something that is ripping away all our fun. This isn’t a new concept; for centuries, culture has been engaged in a protracted battle with virtuous living.

Fenelon, the famous 17th century mystic, explained it this way:

[A teacher must] mingle teaching and play; let wisdom show herself to the child only at intervals, and with a smiling face. If he forms a sad and gloomy conception of virtue, all is lost.

Is being virtuous synonymous with being a stick in the mud? While it certainly isn’t going to be as wild as Zach Galifianakis in the movie Hangover, it can still be fun and whimsical. Making good decisions can be just as addictive as those caught in a spiral of poor choices.

Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to do the right thing. When we do the right thing, we find life. We don’t have to deal with the dreaded consequences because of bad decisions. Instead, we get to enjoy the best fruits real life has to offer.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. – 1 Timothy 4:14-16

As Christians, we should desire to grow—and growing happens when we begin to gain momentum in making virtuous decisions. The process of growth isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun along the way, helping us live a life with fewer regrets and more blessings.

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