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We have a duty to follow Christ’s example as best we can. And we have a duty to grow in Virtue as we seek out Christ.

Cheer up! Everyone has at least one Virtue they’re naturally strong in. And no one has all the vices. So don’t worry.


The Victory in Virtue Series

Intro

Part 1: Faith

Part 2: Hope

Part 3: Charity

Part 4: Piety

Part 5: Prudence

Part 6: Justice

Part 7: Fortitude

Part 8: Temperance

Part 9: Self-Discipline

Part 10: Chastity

Part 11: Patience

Part 12: Fight the Vices Part 1 — Gluttony

Part 13: Fight the Vices Part 2 — Sloth

Part 14: Fight the Vices Part 3 — Envy

Part 15: Fight the Vices Part 4 — Wrath

Part 16: Fight the Vices Part 5 — Lust

Part 17: Fight the Vices Part 6 — Pride

Part 18: Fight the Vices Part 7 — Greed

Part 19: Fight the Vices Part 8 — Fear

Part 20: Humility

Part 21: Empathy

Part 22: Service

Part 23: Mercy and Forgiveness

Part 24: Fight the Vices Part 9 — Hatred


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. But it’s the final entry, for now.

This series has come to an end, for now. I’ve written about every major Virtue and vice I can think of. I wrote twenty-four posts in total, covering fifteen Virtues and nine vices.

If I devoted my mind to it, I’m sure I could think of more Virtues and vices to write about. I would never claim that my twenty-four topics cover every Virtue we should strive for, or every vice we should strive to defeat in ourselves. There are many other attitudes and actions we could call Virtuous, and many other attitudes and actions we could call vices.

But after covering these twenty-four topics, I run into two problems when I try to think up new ones. First, the new topics I can think of for Virtues and vices fit into the topics I’ve already written about. The ideas I come up with are only one more example of Charity, gluttony, Fortitude, … and so on and so forth. Second, I realized I was reaching hard for new topics. There are some minor topics which simply … aren’t worth writing about, even if they could fit within this series.

So that means it’s time to bring the series to a stop for now, and end with a final reflection on the topics so far. Of course I reserve the option to revisit this series in the future, if I come up with any good, compelling topics to write on. Suggestions in the comments are always welcome.

But anyway. If there’s anything I hope people gain from the Victory in Virtue series as a whole, it would be this ….

Virtue Is a Duty

We have a duty as Christians to follow Christ’s example as best we can. We have a duty to try our human best to live like He did. Cynics and non-believers are quick to point out that trying to reach Christ’s level is impossible.

Well, sure. We all know it’s impossible to be as Virtuous as He was, because He was the Son of God and resisted every temptation (Hebrews 4:15). But we are all sinners, imperfect humans who fall to temptation, and we all sin and fall short of God’s Glory (Romans 3:23).

But you know what?

None of that stops us from trying our human best to be more like Christ every day. None of that stops us from fighting temptations and practicing more Virtue all the time. None of that stops us from doing our human best to become better and better.
We have a duty to follow Christ’s example as best we can. And we have a duty to grow in Virtue as we seek out Christ.

Heaven rejoices when we turn to Christ and turn away from our old life of sin (Luke 15:7). But our journey doesn’t stop there. No, that’s only the start. Turning to Jesus and REPENTING! of our sins is the crucial first step, one that everyone should be applauded for making. But once we do that, our Christian Walk begins. Now we need to do the work of living a Christian life that glorifies God by practicing Christian values and Virtues while battling our vices.

Now we need to “put our money where our mouth is,” and practice what we preach. Because it’s easy to talk about being a Christian, but it’s a totally different story to be a Christian and live as one. It’s not easy to live a Christian life in this sinful, fallen world. So this Christian Walk is no simple matter. Living a Christian life is one of the hardest ways to live because it calls for us to overcome our natural instincts and act in a higher way. This means fighting our vices and growing in Virtue.

It’s easy to get discouraged at our lack of progress when following a tough path like this. But as long as we’re trying our honest best, we’re doing great. No one fights harder than the person who fights themselves. Improving ourselves by growing in Virtue and fighting our vices is a bitter struggle, but one that’s well worth it.

We Do Better than We Think

When beginning the Christian Walk and striving for Virtue, a person will get very discouraged if all they see are their sins, and they can’t see what their Virtues are. But there’s good news here, for everyone:

Cheer up! Everyone has at least one Virtue they’re naturally strong in. And no one has all the vices. So don’t worry.

In other words, everyone starts off in a better place than they might think, and no one is doing as bad as they might think. There is no one on this planet who has all the vices. And there is no one on this planet who doesn’t have even one Virtue.

God created everyone with their own unique talents, strengths, and good qualities. Likewise, we all have our own weaknesses (vices). What’s easy for me might be a struggle for you, and vice-versa.

Let me tell you something about myself, as an example. God gave me a natural Virtue of Prudence. Some of it I got from my earthly father, and the rest is the natural quality God gifted me with. I’m good with money, budgeting, and saving. I don’t gamble, and I don’t spend money on luxuries or frivolous stuff. I’m strong in the Virtue of Prudence.

But the vice of lust is my weakness. My flesh nature is very strong and it’s a bitter struggle for me to exert Self-Control over my sexual desires for women. These desires end up controlling me, rather than the other way around (which is the way it should be). I often fall to temptation because I haven’t yet been able to defeat my vice of lust. It’s a terrible, bitter fight that’s been going on for over a year now. I pray that one day soon I’ll be able to claim victory in this battle.

But this is an example of what I mean. I can look at myself honestly and see where my strengths and weaknesses are. I know there’s something I’m good at, the Virtue of Prudence. And I thank God for that, and I give myself some praise and encouragement for being good at something. At the same time, I also see where my weaknesses lie. I lovingly correct myself as I continue to battle my weaknesses, cutting myself a bit of slack because I’m only human, but at the same time not being content to stay at the same level of sin.

Somewhere out there is a person who has the exact opposite problem as me. Somewhere out there is a person who effortlessly exerts Self-Control over their sexual desires, but has a horrible problem being Disciplined with money. I could say I envy that person for being strong in the Virtue of Chastity. But that person might say the same about my Virtue of Prudence. Since envy is also a vice itself, I should simply say I respect that person for their Virtues, and they can respect me for mine. Everyone’s different, with their own strengths and weaknesses.

What’s easy for me may be hard for you, and vice-versa. But the point is we’re all good at something, and no one is doing as bad as they might think.

We always need to remember that. And we also need to understand that Jesus loves us unconditionally, no matter where we started and where we’re at now.

He Loves Us too much to Leave Us how We Are

Jesus Christ loves us, unconditionally and always. No terms and conditions apply: He loves everyone unconditionally!!

But since Jesus loves us unconditionally, He loves us too much to leave us the way He finds us. He loves us too much not to challenge us to change, to battle our sins, to grow closer to Him and become better all the time. When we make some progress, He loves us too much not to raise the bar and tell us to do even better. This is how much He loves us: He loves us enough to demand our very best, levels of Virtue we never imagined was possible for us.

When we find Jesus, most of us are coming straight from our old lives of sin. Jesus wouldn’t be a worthwhile Savior—and Christianity wouldn’t be a worthwhile Spiritual path—if He didn’t look at where we’re at and demand we improve from where we are. If Jesus was OK with leaving us right where we’re at when we find Him, finding Jesus wouldn’t be a meaningful life event (because nothing much would change).

Jesus will walk with us and guide us on our Christian Walk, always meeting us at our level. He knows all our strengths and weaknesses, much better than we do. He will convict us in the Spirit of our sins and vices, one after another. Once we grow in some Virtue, He will guide us toward working on the next one. He will keep raising the bar for us, keep setting higher goals of Virtue for us to reach.

When He raises the bar and demands more from us, we can often feel like He’s asking the impossible. That’s how I feel, much of the time. But if we do what He’s asking, we will get past our current obstacle and reach a higher level we never even imagined was possible for us. He sets that bar high for us because He knows what we don’t know about ourselves—that with His help, we can do it. We can reach that next level, and the next, and the next. He knows our full potential that we have no idea of.

But it’s hard work to change ourselves. Jesus knows that perfectly well. No one fights harder than a person who fights themselves and tries to improve. We’re going to fail at our new goals—a lot. But Jesus is always with us, helping us get back up after we fall. Falling down is part of our learning process, because we learn from it. And getting back up after a fall makes us stronger. Jesus knows all this. Sometimes it feels like He’s far away during this learning process, but He’s always there helping and guiding us.

As long as we continue following Christ by reading the Bible, praying, and practicing the Virtues while fighting our vices, we’ll reach our good goals. We’ll reach that next level, we’ll jump over that high bar Jesus sets for us.

It’s hard work to grow in Virtue. But with Jesus’ help we will succeed as long as we keep following Him and keep trying hard.

No one will ever tell you this is easy. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. And with Jesus on our side, we’re bound to be victorious as long as we stick with Him. And we’d better stick with Him, because the devil will always be trying to trip us up and take us backwards. This struggle will last our whole lifetime.

A Lifelong Mission

The mission to grow in Virtue and fight our vices is a lifelong mission. This quest never ends. It’s something we need to work on every day, every single day of our lives.

We need to be conscious and aware of Virtue in every situation we face in and out of the home. We need to think about the Virtues every time we’re faced with a choice. We need to always pray, wonder “what would Jesus do?” and pick the most Virtuous choice we can think of. Even when that choice is the hardest one.

Every situation we face in life gives us a chance to either grow closer to God or closer to the devil (by sinning). So every situation in life gives us a chance to grow in some Virtue or fall into a vice. This reality never changes, so every situation asks us to choose Virtue or vice. That’s how it’s going to be, for the rest of our lives.

But don’t get discouraged. Some things will get easier as we practice them. Most Virtues will become more natural to us the more we practice them, think about them, and pray for them. But like any other skill or talent, we’ll lose it if we don’t practice it.

If we don’t practice our Virtues we’ll lose them. And if we don’t fight our vices we’ll fall to them. We need to keep practicing Virtues like any other skill or talent, and fight vices like any other dangerous addiction.

It’s a continual, lifelong process. We are on a permanent mission to keep getting better and better. But it’s worth doing, and means a better life now and later. A Virtuous life is a good life, and it leads to having much fewer problems and conflicts!! And that makes it easier to accept this tough Path for the long-haul.

But we’re all human and have our limits. Sometimes we need a break. We must remember to take good care of ourselves and stop to rest when we need it. We must remember to view ourselves as Jesus views us: With unconditional love. And we must remember that we have the ultimate ally, helper, and guide on our side!! We have Jesus with us all the time, from now until the day we die!! Our victory is assured as long as we stick with Him!!

I Pray this Helps

I hope you enjoyed the Victory in Virtue series, and I pray it helps someone out there on their quest for Christian Virtues. Writing this series has been interesting for me, and forced me to think hard about Virtue and vice. I pray you found it interesting too, and that it made you think too.

If even one person out there learns something from this series that helps them on their Christian Walk, then the series has been an outstanding success.

If you enjoyed the Victory in Virtue series or found it helpful, please leave a comment on the blog.

Once again, I reserve the right to revisit this series in the future. If I ever think of some compelling topics to add, more Virtues and vices I can write about, I will do so. But the fifteen Virtues and nine vices I’ve already covered already will get a Christian far if they can put the material into practice.

There’s always room to grow in Virtue, and always more vice to fight inside ourselves. I pray the Victory in Virtue series helps to get that done.


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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One comment on “Victory in Virtue Part 25: Closing Thoughts

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