For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with… – 2 Peter 1:5-6
Somewhere along life’s way virtue has been set aside as an undesirable characteristic by much of the American people. What used to embarrass us now entertains us. What used to be honorable is now thought of as quaint or even foolish. Who would have thought of a movie called the 40 Year Old Virgin 40 years ago?
Peter, however, lists virtue as the first of characteristics that supplement our faith in order to be effective and productive in our lives as God’s people. When one is virtuous, the doors are opened for people who need help to receive it without being taken advantage of. Virtue is not its own reward, but a blessing and adornment to a living faith in God. Virtue elevates relationships between men and women – a powder keg of potential troubles in today’s world.
Virtue is sometimes thought to be a weakness in today’s world. There is, however, a tie between virtue and strength. That comes from a clear conscience; one that is untainted by greed, fraud, or duplicity. It allows one to be helpful in a manner that brings glory to God and seeks the other’s true good.
A careful look at the Greek word behind virtue (ἀρετήν) reveals one more key aspect of this character trait. Paul lists a very similar word in Philippians 4:8 (“…whatever is excellent or of good repute”). Peter also refers to our identity as God’s chosen people who “declare the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
The world thinks little of virtue; they consider virtuous people those to be taken advantage of. God’s opinion is quite the opposite. And whenever we express this character trait in our lives not only are we able to be effective and productive as God’s people, but we are reflecting a key element of Jesus’ nature.