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True Virtue

Virtue signaling—it is the outward display of personal “goodness” for the purpose of showcasing one’s moral correctness on a matter. For instance, while many people base their sanitary mask decisions on a perceived threat or lack thereof, some others—from never-maskers to ever-maskers—parade their choice as a public assertion of personal virtue. Or what about the CEO who publicly postures diversity as a corporate value, even though it bears no evidence in his private hiring practices? Virtue signaling is a thing, and it can show up in our Christian witness.

Have you ever heard—or uttered—this kind of recounting of personal witness: “People at work know I’m a Christian”? I’ve heard and said this many times. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with others knowing we are believers—we should live in such a way that is consistent with our faith and freedom in Christ Jesus, “[shining] as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.”1 Jesus himself taught the crowd gathered on the Mount to hear Him, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”2 Likewise, Paul taught the Philippians, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”3 Yet it is not enough for people simply to know we are believers. If anything, showcasing our faith before others without holding out to them the Source of our hope and the promise of their own further separates us from each other. It signals a contentment to appear virtuous before others, yet with little regard for their ultimate good.

Our witness to the world is our changed life, but our message to them is that theirs can change, too. For “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”4 And when Christ is born in us, we have nothing to prove for He is our everything, nothing to hoard for His abundance is limitless, nothing to hide and everything to proclaim. Jesus is, in us, true virtue. He turns our inward focus outward. “Yes, I am a believer, and you can be, too.”

Father, You lavishly pour Yourself out for our good. Lead us by Your Spirit today, that we would share with others the hope they may have in Christ Jesus, Your Son. In His name we pray. Amen.

1 Philippians 2:15-16 ESV
2 Matthew 5: 16
3 Philippians 1:27
4 John 1:12 ESV

2 replies on “True Virtue”

Paul, our Pastor has mirrored this message recently. It shakes many of us because commitment is required. Challenging but it truly separates believers from pretenders.. pretenders with good intentions but still pretenders. I have work to do.

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