GEAR UP: VIRTUE

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on VIRTUE!

God places a high value on being virtuous. Virtue is absolute, not relative, and situational ethics are not virtue.

Second Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

A virtuous person is one who has high moral standards, and acts with integrity, honesty, and morality even when no one is looking. Peter tells us we are to “make every effort” to supplement our “faith with virtue,” meaning it doesn’t come naturally, even for Christians. Notice that Peter puts virtue before knowledge, but virtue with self-control leads to godliness. This godliness allows God to love others through us.

Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

When the Bible mentions “walk” or “walking,” it is referring to a lifestyle, so whoever lives with integrity in life can rest assured they’ll walk securely. There’s a lot more damage that can be done be telling a lie than telling the truth, even to one’s own heart.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

When we’re thinking bad or negative thoughts, it’s time to dwell on virtuous things…things that are honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent. It’s up to us to change the playlist in our head.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

Riches can’t help us walk in integrity any more than poverty can, so walking in integrity has nothing to do with a person’s social or financial status. A poor person will do far better in life walking in integrity, in this life and at the judgment, than a rich one will do who walks in his or her own way.

God upholds those who walk in integrity. Integrity is even more important in this world with all the corruption there is, so seek to be the one whose integrity and VIRTUE stand above the rest. While those around you may respect you for it, God will always EXPECT it from you.

What’s Your Scene?

My husband and I went to the College Senior Bowl last week-end. I enjoyed the game but the rest of it was not my scene.

As we passed through throngs of people, the smell of alcohol wafting in the air and the deafening music assaulting my one good ear, I looked at him and asked, “Is it bad that I’d rather be home with the dogs?”

I really had to think about the answer for a moment because I feel it’s important not to waste my life away on my couch, that I get out and really experience life.

But this was not the place for me.

Everyone’s different, though. I mean, there are places that I love that aren’t really my husband’s cup of tea.

For example, our Ladies Group went bowling last week at a giant arcade. I loved it. I tried to get everyone to join in when I started singing “Hey Paulette, take a look over here…”

I mean, who doesn’t love an impromptu number from Grease 2?!

I also love going to the movies. I have no problem going to the movies alone. I laugh, I clap, I cry with strangers as we share a common experience. (I’ll also tell you to turn your phone off if the light is shining anywhere near me, but that’s another story.)

Game nights are one of my favorite things ever. I laugh, I have fun. I get a little crazy. I also get a little embarrassed about how much celebrity trivia I know but I’m too competitive to not answer a question I know the answer to! And I most definitely ALWAYS start singing my answers after a couple of hours!

Want to buy me the perfect gift? You’ll never go wrong with tickets to the Saenger in New Orleans. I spent my 30th birthday seeing Beauty and the Beast with my girls. They took me to Aladdin last year for Mother’s Day. You can put me in the orchestra or in the top row of the balcony, I’ll be happy either way…I absolutely love a good musical on stage.

This weekend, I’m headed to an SEC Gymnastics meet. I bought the tickets two months ago! I can list the names of every all-arounder in the SEC, tell you which girls were Olympic alternates and/or contenders, and who has scored perfect 10’s in the last two years. By the time the Olympic Trials are over this summer, I’ll know everything there is to know about the other three girls. (Simone Biles is a lock!) It’s my thing!

My point is this, God wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to have full, rich abundant lives. We can find things that we enjoy that aren’t contradictory to God’s Word and plant ourselves in the middle of its scenery!

Go out and enjoy life this week!

 

GEAR UP: DELIVERANCE

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on DELIVERANCE!

I’ll never forget the day I was driving home from work, practicing a sermon I might one day preach, when the most profound words came out of mouth. I know it was the Lord because it was complete revelation to me, not to mention something I’d never be able to word so succinctly on my own.

You can’t be recovered, you must be delivered.

I had that split second where I both questioned the meaning and understood the answer at once.

You can spend years in treatment programs, work the 12-steps, celebrate your recovery….but until you let the Lord God Almighty deliver you from that evil (be it alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery…) you will always be in bondage.

Remember the term “dry drunk”? It’s someone who isn’t drinking but still has all of the issues he had when abusing alcohol. Same attitude, same messes…but when he gets delivered, everything in his life changes.

How about you? Do you need to be delivered from something? (Here’s a heads up: Going to a meeting every night and talking about how you used to do drugs is still giving the drugs a place in your life that should be reserved for Jesus. Go to church instead. Read your Bible. It’s the real Big Book that you need.)

Ask the Lord to move you past recovery and into delivery.