Christian Virtues

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Seven is a holy number in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah refers to the seven gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3). Wisdom is said to have seven pillars (Proverbs 9:1). The writer of Proverbs lists seven sins that the Lord detests (Proverbs 6:16-19). These references may have been the basis for the medieval church's distinction between the seven vices and seven virtues. 

From another religious source--from Maimonides, a Spanish rabbi of long ago--comes this: "A judge must have these seven qualifications: wisdom, humility, fear of God [reverence], disdain of gain, love of truth, love of his fellowmen, and a good reputation."

These are qualities everyone should have, whatever his or her station in life might be. Wisdom: "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise" (Ephesians 5:15); Humility: "Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another" (1 Peter 5:5); Reverence: "Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28); Avoidance of Covetousness: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have" (Hebrews 13:5); Love of truth: "Whatever is true, ... whatever is right ... think about such things" (Philippians 4:8); Love of fellowmen: "Keep on loving each other as brothers" (Hebrews 13:1); Good conduct and reputation: "Conduct yourselves in a manor worthy of the Gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27).

These qualities are the fruit of faith, or the "fruit of the Spirit." This tells us how they are acquired. How different they are from the world's "morality." The latter have been compared to gilded nuts serving as Christmas tree decorations. Christian virtues are real; they result from Christ-centred faith and life. He who is our Saviour from sin and the Enabler of the new life in Christ declares: "I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit" (John 15:5).

PRAYER: O Lord Christ, live in me and make my life fruitful. Amen.