The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe. [Proverbs 16:17 (NLT)]

Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. … They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. [Psalm 112:4,7-8 (NLT)]

great blue heronIs virtue its own reward? An article in Psychology Today reporting the conclusions of seven studies found that virtue actually does bring rewards. The benefits of doing the right thing include less depression, better self-esteem, increased happiness, a “helper’s high,” and a good night’s sleep! That good night’s sleep might well be the result of the clean conscience that accompanies virtue. Given the momentum of the #MeToo movement, I suspect many prominent people are losing sleep nowadays. Unfortunately, it’s not just well-known producers, actors, newsmen, ministers and politicians who abandoned virtue for self-interest. Many everyday folk are losing sleep as people continue to step forward and break their silence about wrongs that have been committed.

Unless we are adulterers, cheats, molesters, abusers, or thieves, we have no fear of exposure and no need for non-disclosure statements or payoffs. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t confuse good behavior with being virtuous. In writing of virtue, C.S. Lewis points out that even a bad tennis player can make a good shot and an evil person can do good things some of the time. Doing good things, however, is not the same as being a good person. Let’s not make the mistake the Pharisees did of thinking that virtue comes from a set of rules and standards. Virtue and morality are not something we possess; they are something we are and they come from the very heart of our being. We all can manage to be virtuous at times but it is only through God’s divine power that we can live virtuous lives of godliness and holiness.

What the world calls virtue is a name and a dream without Christ. The foundation of all human excellence must be laid deep in the blood of the Redeemer’s cross and in the power of his resurrection. [Frederick W. Robertson]

Men are not made religious by performing certain actions which are externally good, but they must first have righteous principles, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions. [Martin Luther]

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. [2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)]

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