While living in the Panamanian jungle, I clung to a promise in II Peter that encouraged me to keep on regardless of my sense of failure. It says, “His power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through my knowledge of Him who called me.” Running the medical clinic, delivering babies at night, learning to clean and cook strange rodents, fish and meat, washing in the river, dozens of diapers and no dryer, learning a new language, meeting the needs of my husband and two little girls and acclimating to 90-degree heat with 99% humidity, etc., I found my level of spirituality severely challenged. Exhausted daily, I found the verses in II Peter to be a fresh breath of air on my dripping, overheated soul and with it came a promise I intended to claim!
I wanted to implement that promise He gave. The provision was there to lead a godly life! I needed to tap into “His power”, and as I kept reading, I realized His very great and precious promises were attached to verse 5. They were given with clear and present instruction IF I was to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires…like giving in to my anger, impatience, frustration, and believing the lies regarding my inability to accomplish the task He had called me to.
“For this very reason, I had to make every effort to add to my faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if I possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep me from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” 11 Pet. 1: 5-9 (Personalized)
Always looking for a functional definition to put the “rubber on the road”, I found these marks of Virtue:
- “Virtue is the moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word”. (II Peter 1: 5) It is learning to build personal moral standards that will cause others to desire a more godly life. It is reproducing Christ’s character in my life first and then in others.
- Virtue is the fruit of grace as we are given light. There is no excuse not to exemplify God’s character in my life. I am to be an example, not an excuse!
- Virtue is the godly influence my life has on others regardless of past failures.
The opposite of virtue is hypocrisy.
- "Hypocrisy is the practice of a person who is willfully living in conflict with their soul (their mind, will, emotions)”.
Virtue is not made in crisis; it is only exhibited. Crisis reflects our virtue.
Proverbs 24:10 says that we demonstrate what we really are spiritually in times of adversity, not when things are going smoothly!
I was teaching a group of college girls in our home and one of the girls asked my daughter if she considered me to be a virtuous woman. She hesitated…way too long, and I became acutely aware of my need to take another look at the qualities that comprise the virtuous woman in Scripture!
Do I consider myself a woman of virtue…of godly character?
There is a thief that focuses on robbing us of the best. Time in the Word can be lost to the immediate demands of responsibility, a whirlwind of activity and finding a “War Room” where we can read and pray uninterrupted. Little things begin to bother us and when people “bump” us, we react selfishly.
One day away from the Word and I am aware of my desperate need and its crucial impact in my life. Two days of skipping a time of allowing the Word to dwell richly in me and my husband and girls are intensely mindful of my desperate need!
What is my response when:
- I am evil spoken of
- My loyalty has been betrayed
- My will is crossed
- I am forgotten or neglected
- My friends forsake me
- I find compromise more inviting than maintaining claimed convictions
My response reveals to me
if I am a virtuous women or a woman of hypocrisy/impurity.
(Impurity is ungodly contamination in any of its forms).
Which are you?
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.