We worship what’s at the forefront of our mind, what we think about the most. Being Pious means keeping God at the forefront of our mind, in that most important place in our thoughts. God is what we should be thinking about.
The Victory in Virtue Series
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today’s post is on the Virtue of Piety.
If the Virtues of Faith and Hope are more about what we feel and believe, while the Virtue of Charity is more about what we do, then the Virtue of Piety falls somewhere in the middle. We can show Piety through our actions, but how we feel inside about piety is as important. Piety is an important Virtue that can get overlooked somewhat. We need to think about and respect God. We need to keep Him on our mind more than other topics (Colossians 3:2). And we need to honor and praise Him.
So that’s what today’s post is about. It’s a long post again, so let’s get straight into it.
What Is the Virtue of Piety?
Piety (noun): reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations (from Dictionary.com).
That’s one dictionary definition. That’s a good start, right there. To define the Virtue of Piety in as few words as possible, I’d say Piety is having respect for God. And respect for God implies belief in Him, since you can’t respect something you don’t believe in. So I’d say one main element of Piety is respect for God.
Pious respect for God can take a few different forms. The main way to respect God is to obey His commandments—to love Him and love our neighbor! If we can do that, we’re being pious (among other things).
Other than that obvious start, let’s consider some other forms that Piety can take.
Piety also means having religious devotion (see above). So doing religious practices, praising God, reading the Bible or Pious books, and worshiping Him in fellowship are all Pious things.
The important part about such activities, besides that they give praise and respect to God, is that they make us think about God. They turn our minds in a Godly direction. That’s what makes them Pious activities.
There’s a saying that we worship what’s at the forefront of our mind, so God should occupy that place in our mind. We should be focused on God all the time, thinking about the things of Heaven and not being distracted by the things of the world (Colossians 3:2).
(2) Think about the things above and not things on earth.Colossians 3:2 (CEB)
We need to always honor and praise God, in good times and bad. This is the Virtue of Piety. We need to give thanks for the blessings we’ve already received; a grateful heart is pleasing to God. We need to live our lives in a way that glorifies God, by following his Word as best we can. Perfection here is impossible for us humans. Everyone will fall short, and everyone sins (Romans 3:23). This doesn’t mean we should use this to justify sins, or that it’s acceptable to continue sinning (Romans 6:1-2). It only means perfection is impossible. When we sin, we return to God in genuine repentance, confess, and ask for forgiveness, and God will forgive us (1 John 1:19). We must then turn away from that sin by acting differently in the future.
Living out the Virtue of Piety also means spending time worshiping with other Christians. God’s church is important to Him and was meant for people to gather there to worship Him together. But here’s the really cool part, everybody: We are the Church. Us Christians, we are the Church. Where even two or three of us gather in His name, Jesus is right there with us.
(20) For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.Matthew 18:20 (CEB)
So it’s important to attend church if possible, to fulfill the Virtue of Piety. But no matter what, dedicate time each week for worshiping God with other Christians. This is an important part of the Virtue of Piety.
Reading the Bible is also a Pious activity. How can you even attempt to follow God’s Word if you don’t know what that is? You can get a Bible app for your smartphone or device for free. Most of them have reading plans, all languages, and every sanctioned version of the Bible. So you don’t have to read the Bible in Olde English if that’s difficult.
Pious books are another good thing to read. It’s good to read books about our Christian faith. There are countless, innumerable books out there on the topic. You can find Christian books and booklets written from every different perspective you can think of. Reading about our faith builds a good habit of thinking about God and our faith. It’s always good to study Christianity, even if we’re devoted Christians already. There’s always something to learn. Whether it’s one of the classics of Christianity, or something more recent, reading books about our Christian faith is a Pious habit.
And a critical part of Piety is prayer. Prayer is talking to God. Take time each day to pray, in good times and bad. Many people start praying to God during a crisis, when they know they need Him. But God wants to hear from us all the time, not only during a crisis! To talk to God every day is an obligation and part of the Virtue of Piety. Talk to God in prayer every day, building up respect for Him and building up our own Virtue of Piety.
Speaking of prayer, let’s now look at a few prayers for gaining the Virtue of Piety.
Prayers for the Virtue of Piety
There are many prayers we could pray to receive the Virtue of Piety. The best ones of course will be the ones that we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for a Virtue is a great way to build it up. It’s one of the best ways, actually. So here are a few short, simple prayers for the Virtue of Piety you can try adding to your prayer routine.
So that We may Have You as Our Final Reward
Here’s another Catholic prayer I have “De-Catholicized” so that it’s safe to pray. Meaning, I took out all content about the saint this prayer was addressed to. Because saints (or Mary) are not moderators between God and mankind. There is only one moderator between God and man, and that’s the human being, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). There is nothing in the Bible that says we should pray to anything besides Jesus Christ, the LORD.
In this case, the resulting “De-Catholicized” prayer is short and sweet. It’s better this way. See how you like it:
O God Our Creator, we beseech You that You would grant us the Virtue of Piety so that having honored You during this life as our Creator we may possess You hereafter as our final reward through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
The Things Above
Besides respecting God, a core part of the Virtue of Piety is keeping God on our minds all the time. We need to be thinking about and pondering God.
We worship what’s at the forefront of our mind, what we think about the most. Being Pious means keeping God at the forefront of our mind, in that most important place in our thoughts. God is what we should be thinking about. This is why Colossians 3:2, quoted above, tells us to keep our thoughts on the things of Heaven and not of earth.
So here’s a short prayer in the spirit of Colossians 3:2 that I whipped up:
LORD, please grant me the Piety to keep You at the forefront of my thoughts. Grant me the Piety to keep thinking about the things of Heaven, and to not get distracted by the things of earth. Since the things of earth are always in my face, please grant me the Piety to see beyond those and to think about what is everlasting above. Amen.
Forgive Me for not Focusing on You
Here’s a prayer with a message like the one above. This is a prayer I found on a website called “Happier Human.” This prayer is credited to a Mary Southerland.
The phrase “forgive me for focusing on anything or anyone but You” shows Piety. This is another prayer about keeping our thoughts in the right place.
“Father, I am tempted to worry about so many things. Our world is a mess! Forgive me for focusing on anything or anyone but You. Thank You for the Bible that equips and empowers me to live each day. Right now, I declare that You are my only Hope. Please help me remember that You really are in control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
– Mary Southerland
Again, you can find this prayer at Happier Human.
Again, there are so many options for praying for any Virtue. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to take action (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Living the Virtue
To cultivate a Virtue, we must also practice it, and do that consistently. Don’t just do it a few times and stop there—stay consistent. That consistency is how you build up a habit. It’s also how you cultivate and strengthen a virtue.
So how can we do that with Piety? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can live out the Virtue of Piety in our own lives:
- Pray, at least once a day
- Praise God
- Read the bible daily, read Pious books
- Worship in community with other Christians, attend church and other services
Again, prayer is a Pious activity and a great start for building this Virtue. To talk to God every day is an obligation and part of the Virtue of Piety. Talk to God in prayer every day, building up respect for Him and building up our own Virtue of Piety. Praying every day and thanking God for our blessings helps build up our personal Piety.
Praising God is a Pious act and something we must do every day. Let’s start by thanking God for our blessings, like I said above. Consciously choosing to thank God makes us think about the blessings so we can list them. In other words, choosing to thank God turns our brain in the direction of God’s goodness. Thanking God is such an important part of praise. And praise is such an important part of Piety.
Now, to fulfill the Virtue of Piety we must obey God’s commandments as best as we possibly can. After all, if we respect Him we will do what He commands of us. But how can we obey God’s Will if we don’t even know what it is?
We need to read the Bible every day, and study God’s Word. Then we can understand the commandments we need to follow, out of Piety, loving respect for God. Reading God’s Word every day gets us thinking about God and what He commands, it gets our brain working in the right direction. Dedicated study of the Word is a big part of Piety.
Reading books about the Christian faith is also a Pious thing to do. This is another activity that gets our brains working in the right direction. Reading books about Christianity turns our mind to that topic and gets us thinking. No matter how much we already know, don’t ever think we’re wise. Keep reading, keep studying. There’s always something new to learn! There are Christian books written from just about every perspective imaginable, so we have countless to choose from. Reading Christian books is a Pious activity—maybe the most enjoyable way to cultivate this Virtue!
To cultivate Piety, it’s very important we set aside time to worship God together with other Christians. The best example of this is going to church, obviously. But that may not be an option for everyone. And churches can be abusive toward people too, when a church goes astray. (This often happens when a Jezebel spirit invades the church and influences the church leadership.) But remember Matthew 18:20, quoted above. Where two or three are gathered in Jesus’s name, Jesus is right there with them, in spirit.
So even if we only have two or three other Christians around, we can and should worship with them. We are the Church, we are the Christian community. Worshiping together cultivates Piety, and it’s something we need to do. We can praise God all day, every day on our own, but Jesus meant for His Church to be a community that sticks together. Jesus meant for the Church to worship Him together. We can only go so far down our spiritual path when we worship alone. Worshiping together lets us learn from other Christians. It’s always good to learn how God is working in other people’s lives.
And worshiping God together lets us build community with other Christians. When we come together as a community, we can support each other through the hard times in life. When one is strong, another is weak, and vice versa (because strength comes and goes). We can support other believers when we’re strong, and receive their support when we’re not. This is not only good for us, it’s Pious because it fulfills Galatians 6:2.
(2) Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2 (CEB)
We honor God when we help each other like this, and honoring God is showing Piety. Remember that if we love and respect God, we will keep His commandments. We will try our very best, challenge ourselves, and become completely new people to the best of our ability. That sincere effort to reform and obey God’s commandments shows love and respect. And love and respect for God is one of the core elements of the Virtue of Piety.
And once again, the most important part of all the activities I mentioned is that they make us think about God. They turn our minds in that Godly direction, to think about Him. They bring God to the forefront of our thoughts, the place in our thoughts where He belongs. We should always be thinking about God. Most importantly, we should always think about God more than we think about worldly concerns. This is another core element of the Virtue of Piety.
More Piety = More Steady
The Virtue of Piety is broad enough to include a few different things. One of the easiest definitions I can give it is “love and respect for God.” That’s a huge part of the Virtue of Piety. But so is this other part: “Keeping God at the forefront of our thoughts.”
There are so many distractions in this world, and our world today is designed this way. The world is designed to distract us from thinking of God and the things of Heaven. Instead, the distractions of the world keep our thoughts fixed on worldly concerns, in other words, the exact thing that Colossians 3:2 warns against. So in that sense, Colossians 3:2 is a great verse to keep in mind if we want to build up Piety.
This also means that activities which make us think about God, and turn our thoughts in a Godly direction are likely Pious. Reading God’s Word is a great choice for this, and so is reading books about the Christian faith. Let’s read Pious things that build up our faith.
And of course, Piety also means praising and worshiping God. Although we can do a lot to praise and worship God on our own, it’s best if we go to church if we can. Jesus wants the Christian community to worship together, as a Church. Although worshiping together with other believers doesn’t always mean going to a physical church, it’s the best option if it’s available. If not, remember Matthew 18:20 and don’t despair. Just make sure you set aside time for worshiping and praising God together with other believers. This is a Pious activity, and something we need to do.
The good thing about cultivating the Virtue of Piety is that it turns our thoughts to the things above, rather than the things of earth. It helps us live up to Colossians 3:2. The more our thoughts and hearts are fixed on God above, the less the turmoil of this fallen world will shake us. The more Piety we have, the more steady we become. It’s like Faith then, in that sense.
It’s right to keep God at the forefront of our thoughts, where He belongs. And we need to love, respect, and praise God all the time, in good times and bad. And let’s not forget that a major part of respecting God is following His commandments.
If we can do all that, we’re off to a great start with cultivating the Virtue of Piety. Remember Colossians 3:2! Let’s all keep our thoughts on the everlasting things above, and not the temporary things here on earth.
The Virtue for next time is Prudence. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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