Tired of running all over the place pretending to not be catching Pikachu? Well, sit down, relax those tired feet, and read about something less fleeting. Last summer, I started a blog series exploring the seven deadly sins and how those same sins appear in our everyday lives. Recently, I was trying to think about new topics I could blog about when I came across an idea very similar to the series I started last summer. They are called the seven virtues, and according to the Catholic Church, they are the direct antidotes to the seven deadly sins. For example, charity is the antidote to greed, and patience is the antidote to anger. I think that sometimes, myself included, Christians, bloggers, pastors alike, can begin to only write articles and preach about what we are doing wrong and the mistakes we are making every day in society.
We give step by step instructions on how to live better, but we never stop to talk directly about the qualities that make up those instructions. How can I do my devotions every day if I don’t first learn about patience and humility? How can I glorify God at my fruitless summer job if I have never learned about diligence? How can you be kind to others when all around you see a world full of hate and racism? Main stream Christianity has become nothing but articles published and podcasts recorded all about us, the dreams God has for us, how to hear what God is trying to say to us, trying to find the specific gifts God has given us. That’s a whole lot of us for one sentence.
In the 21st century that we live in, it is too hard to find role models that exhibit these seven virtues that every Christian should try to possess. Instead, we have bred Christians who share their love of Christ by posting artistic bible verses on Instagram and sign up for mission trips so that they can have fun and maybe even find a boyfriend. Trust me, I have not been exempt from these things. We have created Christians that are only focused on what God has called them to do and where God has called them to be. And Christians who are not doing anything that the Holy Spirit has not laid specifically on their hearts. Now, I am not saying that God doesn’t completely have exact plans for each and every one of us. We were created in His image to serve a specific purpose. I believe that wholeheartedly.
But I also believe that God called us to be the church to all people at all times. That doesn’t mean being lazy at your job because it isn’t in the vocation God ultimately called you to do. That is not lusting and seeking after the idol of marriage instead of seeking God’s word and waiting on His timing. That is not being nice to your Christian friends and never venturing out of your comfort zone to talk to a non-Christian.
As a generation we are all severely lacking in these great virtues and the gifts that we can bring into others’ lives. The main point of gaining these virtues is to have others see God more alive in us, not showcasing ourselves for being good Christians. So over the next couple of months, I will be publishing a couple articles around each of the seven virtues and how I think they can still be prevalent in the areas of our lives today.
The seven virtues are chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. These are not a secret formula for the ingredients we need to be the perfect Christian. We can never accomplish that feat here on earth. But they are the components that we can grasp onto when the sins and destructive habits of our lives threaten to overtake us.
This series is by no way another list of things you will feel like you need to check off throughout out the day to make sure you’re completing the appropriate Christian tasks. They are ways to live that will help others to see God and more importantly to help you become a person that you would be proud to look up to. Christianity demands only two things from us, that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. But, those two seemingly small tasks are easier said than done.
So take some time this summer and school year to learn about the seven virtues behind great acts of service, instructions to live better lives, and that are at the core of the church. Luckily for us, God doesn’t make us chase all over town to get them.
Don’t get stuck only seeing what Christianity can do for you, see what you can use Christianity to do for others and most importantly for God.