Virtue

DSC_0693Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness; high standards, character

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. Marcus Aurelius

Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good. Buddha

Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices. Benjamin Franklin 

   Being a person of virtue, means being well-grounded in morals and principles. We operate within certain limits. There are internal rules of conduct, a “code of living”, that guides and directs us in all that we say and do.

We conduct ourselves in ways that are consistent with what we were taught by parents and grandparents and what is described as “good and proper” behavior. We have within a core, an inner framework that monitors how we conduct ourselves. Mostly is has been programmed by our upbringing and environment. Some say that it goes much further and has a spiritual or supernatural basis. It is often described as a conscience. It operates as an inner compass or as an automatic pilot. It provides steady feedback and has checks and balances. Our compass and our conscience are both intended to keep us on the right path. If we live and act consistently with its guidance we tend to be in harmony and stay on course. If not, we likely lose our bearings, wander, and often lose our way.

Hopefully, we are programmed in such a fashion that being virtuous is our true internal guidance and is what we normally seek to do. Being virtuous is consistent with our core values. If we ignore these things, there is inner discord and likely major problems with our psyche, self-image, self-esteem and a whole litany of other self-issues. We lose our focus, have emotional and psychological problems and become less than we should be.

If our goal should be to become the best possible us, it is imperative that being virtuous is something we concentrate and focus our efforts upon. Being loving, kind, charitable, honest, having integrity, hard-working, and many more are all virtuous attributes we should seek to master, own and to exhibit. Lacking these attributes prevents us from achieving our true potential.

Being a person of virtue means having “Rules of Conduct” that guide us each and every day. We answer to high standards and focus on choosing right actions because it is the right thing to do. We are faced with choices that would allow us to take advantage of others, because we are “virtuous” we choose not do such things. We do not need someone looking over our shoulder, or someone monitoring us; because we already holding ourselves accountable and responsible to very high standards of conduct.

Challenge: Your conscience tries to keep you on track; sending alarms and warnings when you mess up or break the rules. When you ignore its warnings, the more callous you will continue to become. Listen to your conscience. Keep in mind your “rules of conduct”. Keep them forefront in your mind. When you are constantly reminded of them, the more likely you will do right things. Staying a virtuous person is done by one virtuous decision at a time.

Wisdom: The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong. Sidney J Harris

Spiritual: (NIV)

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

There is a supernatural element to our conscience. It is God’s Holy Spirit trying to guide and direct us. We may listen, often we do not and ignore Him. When we ignore Him, more times than not we make mistakes. The more we listen, the more we will make good and virtuous choices and decisions. We must consciously choose to listen. The truth is that we will fail miserably in life if we do not allow God to equip and empower us to live virtuously.

Prayer:   Please guide me and direct me in all that I say and do.

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