Virtue Costs

Our church is reading through the Bible in a 3-year reading plan. We are in Judges 3 today. I thought I would post a blog per each chapter read, just as a matter of spiritual discipline, as well as hope that God shall communicate with me through it.

I’m feeling like Eglon as far as being spiritually out of shape, but I desire to take up the dagger of God’s Word and plead the Holy Spirit to start applying it to my life.

I find it interesting that the Lord should test us. It seems the nations that inhabited Canaan prior to the Israelites arrival remained in the promised land, as a trial to Israel (v. 4).

In Mark 6 we see Jesus walking on water towards the disciples’ boat in the midst of the storm. And He made as if He was going to pass them by. Why? To test them… “will they call out to Me? Will they look to Me for help?”

In John 6, a hungry crowd of 5,000 men and families can’t get enough of Jesus. Interestingly, Jesus asks His disciples “Where shall we buy enough bread for everyone to eat?” And this He said to TEST them.

And then here in Judges 3:4 we see the nations were left as a test.

Testing is what distinguishes Innocence from Virtue.

I want to be more than innocent. I crave virtue in my life. That it would course through my being like blood flows through my veins. For that to happen…there MUST be testing.

A baby is newly born, and having never faced a test, is innocent (not necessarily in the theological sense, but in purity of thought and deeds). Never responded with spite, or harbored bitterness, or wished malice on anyone, or lusted, or etc. Innocent.

As we grow up, we are tested with events that naturally provoke spite, bitterness, unforgiveness, defensiveness, malice, lust, etc. It means so much more for a young man to withstand the adulteress’ lures than for an infant to remain pure.

It is in the midst of trial that God enables us to withstand so that we can be virtuous. These nations were there for the virtu-izing of Israel. But verse 7 shows us their downfall (and too often mine) “they forgot the Lord their God”. Have you ever heard such sad words? Such dreadful words?

As I endeavour to undertake this project I will look to the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrew 12:2-3). And as I look at His 33 years on this earth, we see Innocence being put to the Test. Virtue is born.

And in that sense, Hebrews 5:8 makes sense…
“He learned obedience by the things He suffered.”

To paraphrase, “Innocence became virtuous by being put to the test, and passing.”

Lord Jesus, help me pass each test that comes my way. May I always have you in mind and heart, and thereby avoid the downward spiral that we see in Judges…all because “they forgot the Lord their God.” Amen.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Trinka on January 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    This was a blessing this morning. I hadn’t thought about the connection between testing & virtue vs. innocence before.”They forgot the Lord their God,” unfortunately, is a concept I’m all too familiar with. I’m thankful that He remains faithful, and I hope He’s growing more of it in me!Nice to see your blog!


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